by Sherryl Woods

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New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods demonstrates that when faith and love are tested, they often wind up stronger than ever

For former private investigator Dana Miller, there can be no peace of mind until she finds the person who killed her husband. Now a single mother to three boys, Dana wants closure. But it turns out she'll need to form an alliance with the man she holds responsible for the death. And uncovering answers may mean bringing down the program her husband believed in.

Rick Sanchez has no intention of letting Dana destroy all the good he and Ken Miller worked for. As he and Dana try to learn the truth about what happened, he discovers that he and his old friend have something else in common—an undeniable attraction toward this intrepid, high-spirited woman who fights for the people she loves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781488091445
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 01/15/2018
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 337,344
File size: 564 KB

About the Author

With her roots firmly planted in the South, Sherryl Woods has written many of her more than 100 books in that distinctive setting, whether in her home state of Virginia, her adopted state, Florida, or her much-adored South Carolina. Sherryl is best known for her ability to creating endearing small town communities and families. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 75 romances for Silhouette Desire and Special Edition.

Read an Excerpt

The blasted sofa must have belonged to the Marquis de Sade in another life, Rick Sanchez thought as he shifted his body in a futile attempt to find a more comfortable position. Between the oddly solidified lumps and protruding springs, he was lucky he hadn't gouged out a vital organ. He was very careful to avoid lying on his stomach.

This was the fourth night he'd gone through this same torture, and he was beginning to wonder if he was wasting his time. Whoever had been breaking into the Yo, Amigo headquarters either knew he'd moved in to guard the place or had simply decided that there was more fertile turf for theft elsewhere.

Lord knew, that was true enough, he thought as he cautiously rearranged his body once more on the worn-out, too-short sofa. The program he'd founded two years earlier was perpetually short of funds and equipment. The sole, ancient computer he'd hoodwinked a friend into donating had been an early victim of daring neighborhood thieves. Now about the only things of value lying around were the TV and DVD player in the lounge. They were bolted down, though not so securely that anyone intent on nabbing them couldn't manage it with a little time and diligence.

They were also in pathetic condition, but at least they'd been obtained legally, unlike the collection of state-of-the-art electronic equipment a few of the boys had offered him the week before. He'd really hated turning them down, but Yo, Amigo was all about taking a moral stance and teaching values. Accepting stolen property would pretty much defeat the very message he was trying to send out.

Exhausted but wide awake, he closed his eyes and tried counting confiscated weapons instead of sheep. He'd turned over a dozen to the police two days earlier, another seven the week before. It was a drop in the bucket, but each gun or knife he managed to get out of gang hands and off the streets was a small victory.

Rather than putting him to sleep, though, the mental game left him more alert than ever. Images of boys killing boys, of babies being shot by accident in a violent turf war crowded into his head. He wondered despondently if the program he'd founded would ever be more than a tiny, ineffective bandage on the huge problem.

Such thoughts led inevitably to memories of Ken Miller, the decent, caring man who had been his friend and, some said, had lost his life because of it. Rick knew he would never have a moment's peace again if he allowed himself to share that conviction. His conscience, which already carried a heavy enough burden of guilt from the sins of his youth, would destroy him, if even indirect responsibility for Ken's death were added to the list.

He shifted positions and felt the sharp jab of a metal spring in the middle of his back. He muttered a harsh expletive under his breath and sat up.

Just as he did, he thought he heard a faint whisper of sound, an almost imperceptible scratching from the back of the old brick firetrap that had been condemned until he took it over and began restoring it room by room with the help of the boys in his program. He went perfectly still and listened intently.

The second subtle scrape of metal against metal had him on his feet in an instant. He grabbed the baseball bat he'd kept by the door and eased from the office.

Slipping quietly through the shadowy rooms toward the increasingly persistent sound, he wished for a moment that he hadn't sworn off guns. He also wished the budget had been large enough to pay for a cell phone, rather than the lone, ancient phone that suddenly seemed very far away on his desk. He might as well have wished for a fleet of shiny new vans to transport the teens to the job assignments that were a part of the program. All were out of reach on the shoestring Yo, Amigo budget.

Just as he closed in on the back door, he heard the heavy-duty lock give. Whoever had conquered it was skilled with lock-picking tools, he concluded with grudging admiration. It hardly narrowed the field, since most of the kids he knew had been breaking and entering since they could reach a door handle or heave a rock through a window. Most, however, didn't have the finesse or patience to work at a lock with the tedious determination that this person had.

The heavy steel door inched open silently on its well-oiled hinges. Pressed against a wall, Rick waited in the shadows. There was no point in risking his neck until he knew exactly what he was up against. One thief. Two. Or a whole gang, in which case his goose was cooked and he could kiss the TV and DVD player goodbye.

To his relief, the lone person who slipped inside was slightly built and dressed in black from head to toe. Black baseball cap, long-sleeved black T-shirt, trim black pants, even black sneakers. Vaguely taken aback, he concluded it was the working gear of a pro, not some daring kid intent on mischief. The kids he knew wore the baggy clothes and colors of their gangs. Solid, formfitting black like this would have appalled them.

More on edge than ever, and itching for action, he studied the person creeping slowly and unwittingly toward him in the narrow hallway. Rick figured he easily had a fifty-pound advantage over the intruder, plus several inches in height. Even so, he forced himself to wait patiently and watch for accomplices.

When none appeared, he bit back a sigh of relief and considered his options. The bat seemed unnecessary. He propped it cautiously against the wall. Then he slipped up behind the increasingly confident and fast-moving thief and, without uttering a word, slammed the jerk onto the hardwood floor in a full-body tackle that knocked the breath out of both of them.

Rick recovered from the fall first, latched on to a pair of skinny wrists and brutally wrenched the would-be thief's arms behind him.

He received a blistering earful of curses for his trouble. The words didn't shock him. He'd heard far worse. Used far worse, for that matter.

What flat-out stunned him, though, was the fact that the voice uttering such foulmouthed language was so evidently and self-righteously outraged. More startling yet, it was also very clearly feminine.

"If you don't let me up right this instant, I will slap you with a lawsuit that will take away this building and every dime you have to your name," the woman vowed furiously.

Rick was intrigued despite himself. Not intrigued enough to let her go, but fascinated enough to pursue the conversational direction for a bit.

"Is that so?" he asked, unexpectedly amused by her gambit. "And how do you figure you're the injured party here?"

"Because I've been attacked by an idiot with more muscle than sense. I wouldn't be at all surprised if half my ribs were cracked."

"You did break into private property," he reminded her.

"A technicality," she insisted.

"Some technicality. You a lawyer?"

"Sweet heavens, no," she said with such heartfelt distaste that Rick grinned.

"I'm not overly fond of them myself. I guess that gives us something in common, doll face."

"Dollface? " she repeated with more of that misplaced indignant outrage. "No one calls me doll face or honey or sweetheart."

"Too bad," Rick said sympathetically. He decided he could really enjoy deliberately aggravating this woman. "Mind telling me why you dropped by, doll face? Since you chose not to use the front door or to come during business hours, I have to assume your mission is less than legal."

"That's not true," she said.

"The facts say otherwise."

"To hell with your so-called facts. Are you going to let me up or not?"

"Not just yet," he said, wondering abruptly if the decision was the security precaution he wanted to believe or merely an attempt to prolong the distinctly provocative contact. Worry over his motives kept him silent for so long that his captive jumped back in with her two cents.

"If you're figuring on copping a feel, you'd better think again," she said in that imperious way that amused him so. "I'll slap you with sexual battery charges while I'm at it."

Rick chuckled. "Doll face, I do not need to get my kicks from accosting total strangers. In case you've missed the point, I am subduing a thief who broke into this building. I'm within my rights, believe me."

"I am not a thief," she retorted.

"Maybe not technically, since you never got a chance to lay your hands on anything of value," he agreed. "But you seem to be in deep denial of the seriousness of your position. Now, how about giving me some answers?"

She hesitated for a very long time, probably evaluating her alternatives, before asking, "Such as?"

"Who are you and what are you doing here?"

"Who are you?" she countered. "For all I know, you're just a thief who got here first."

She had audacity. Rick had to give her that. She was the kind of smart-mouthed handful who'd drive a man crazy. He wished he could get a better look at her to see if she'd be worth the trouble, but the lighting in the hallway was virtually nonexistent. The only thing he knew for sure was that she wasn't local. She had no accent. All of the girls in this neighborhood—and some of them were indeed tough as nails—were Latinas.

Based on her shape, though, this one definitely had promise. His own body had picked up on that without his brain even having to kick in. Another couple of minutes of close contact and he'd be dangerously aroused. Hell, he was already aroused. For a man who'd vehemently sworn to remain celibate through all eternity after his very brief and ill-advised marriage had gone sour, it was a troubling turn of events. He'd better settle this nonsense in a hurry and extricate himself from a dangerous situation.

"Let me assure you, doll face, I belong here," he said. "I run the place."

The announcement had an odd effect on her. Though she'd remained relatively still since he'd taken her captive, it now seemed that the remaining breath whooshed right out of her. She was utterly and absolutely motionless. That didn't strike Rick as a good sign.

"Doll face?"

"You're Rick Sanchez?" she asked in a broken whisper.

Rick couldn't tell if her voice was choked by tears or was shaking with some inexplicable anger, but he definitely got the feeling she knew a whole lot more about Yo, Amigo than he'd assumed. He also realized that he was the very last person she'd expected to encounter here tonight.

"That's me," he told her. "Which leaves us with you. Who are you, doll face?"

Several seconds ticked by before she answered.

"I'm Dana Miller."

She said it in a tone so stiff and cold that it sent goose bumps chasing over Rick's body. Dismay slammed through him as the name registered. Ken's wife? Dear God in heaven, he'd tackled Ken's wife as though she were a common criminal. Which, of course, at the moment she appeared to be, but that was beside the point.

He released her wrists at once and leaped to his feet, holding out his hand to help her up. She ignored it and rose with a grace and dignity that belied the situation.

"I'm sorry," he said, trying to convey a month's worth of emotions in those two simple words. "For everything. For Ken. For just now."

"Save it," she said harshly. "Save it for someone who'll buy your phony sympathy."

Anger radiated from her in almost palpable waves. Rick had known she blamed him for Ken's death. A half-dozen people had told him exactly how bitter she was toward him and Yo, Amigo. In fact, he had stayed away from the funeral for that very reason, out of consideration for her feelings, justified or not. He'd figured Ken's graveside was no place to force a confrontation. Later he'd tried to see her, but she'd been gone, off in Florida to recover from the tragedy, her best friend had told him.

Now he realized that he should have seen her sooner, should have gone at once to offer his condolences, to explain how deeply he, too, was grieving over the death of her husband. He doubted she would have believed him any more then than she did now, but he knew how wounds could fester unless they were cleansed right away. This soul-deep wound was no different than one to the flesh. It had had more than a month to worsen dangerously.

Ironically, he had anticipated that sooner or later, she might come after him. He just hadn't expected it to be in the middle of the night.

Gazing into her bleak expression, he tried to tell her now what he would have said weeks ago, if he'd had the opportunity.

"Your husband was the best friend—"

He never got to finish the sentence. Her open hand connected with his face in a stinging slap that rocked him on his heels.

"Don't you dare say that," she said. "Don't you dare."

Rick fell silent, uncertain how to cope with such anguish and outrage. Used to coping with broken teenaged dreams with words and hugs and timeworn platitudes, he could think of nothing that would touch Dana Miller's hurt, or calm her fury. Obviously, she needed to lash out at someone and she'd picked him.

Since the topics of Ken Miller and his death were clearly off-limits, despite their obvious connection to tonight's break-in, he decided to focus on why Dana Miller was at Yo, Amigo headquarters in the middle of the night. It didn't take a genius to figure that one out.

"You expected to find answers here, didn't you?" he asked softly.

The direct question seemed to surprise her. Her gaze clashed with his. "It's the obvious place to start."

"The police thought so, too," he reminded her. "They've searched through every file, talked with every one of the kids who comes here regularly, questioned every potential eyewitness. They've almost destroyed the program in the process." He regarded her defiantly. "I won't let you start the whole thing all over again."

"You don't have a choice in the matter," she told him coldly. "I will do whatever I have to do to find Ken's murderer. You can't stop me."

He found her resolve chilling, but it bolstered his own commitment to salvage Yo, Amigo, at any cost. "Oh, but I can. These kids need a safe haven. They need one person who believes in them. That's me. They had Ken, too, but he's gone now."

"Because of you," she accused bitterly.

"Not because of me or these kids," Rick insisted. "I'd stake my life on that."

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Twilight 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ahah great book, love the romance and sweetness
MissBethBC More than 1 year ago
My mom gave this novel to read; her favorite genre being romance, clean romance.   I enjoy romance reads and have a couple yet to read this month.   Like her I do not really want the explicit details, I have an excellent imagination contained within my mind's eye.    I was quite surprised that Wood's book, Twilight, has met my standards of  intimate revelation.   There was a steamy night and some kisses too, but absolutely nothing explicit.   Go Sherryl Woods! This book was actually a mystery romance, with both , Dana Miller and Rick Sanchez trying to ferret out who had slain the honorable Reverend Ken Miller.   By joining forces, they formed an unlikely alliance, challenged by mistrust of one another, and strengthened by a bulldog stubbornness to find those precious answers that could lead to truth, trust, and just maybe anther shot at love. I enjoyed this book immensely.   The characters were strong and independent and with their conversations you could "hear" that spanish lingo.    The plot was well developed and although there were many bodies left for discovery,   it was very near the end when the murderers were revealed.  It was quite an interesting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your this on three other books. Look under your pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do i breakup with someone? Reply to Sydni
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok what to be in a clan to destory clans i am ray go to oder result 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You should go with the asian boy. Beauty comes from within. -Elsa ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
K hun imgunma ask u to calm down. I suggest you stay away from ur ex andaround other people. At least txt a friend or something or stay on here but do not be alone u need to stay in this world. Question. How come u are with ur ex so much? Hon i need u to reply asap cuz i want to mke sure u r okay. With love sam
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'v never really got involved with guys until recently (you know). And there is this guy in my class tgat's really smart (like me) and we play chess and are fruends (in a way) but i think he lukes ne MORE then that and i think i am fallung in love but i'm not really sure because i never have before. Can you tell me how to tell if you are falling in love? Thanks, Ann
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My nke is elias and i broke a bones to save my love she still dosent love me back help i am depressed and thinking of ssuicide
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The way you can tell you know you like someone more than a friend is that you start to get butterflies in your stomach, you start to feel very happy even on your gloomiest days, and you may start to blush around him or when somebody starts to talk about him. I hope my advice helped! ~ &hearts maggie
MaryBeeMR More than 1 year ago
Sherryl Woods is always a pleasure to read! I really enjoy her books thoroughly!!
judiOH More than 1 year ago
a story of love and hate that tells us that these two emotions have a thin line between them. rick runs a place of haven for gang members that want to leave the gangs. dana is the widow of the minister that helped rick. she blames rick for her husbands death,because ken was working with rick. in her mind if ken wasn't there he would not have died. she is a retired P.I. and so starts to search for her husbands killer. she meets rick,(before this she would never associate with him), and he convinces her, (finally) , that they should work together. along the way,she discvovers she loves rick and vice versa. she denies it for a long time, but the ending is happy. the reasons ken was killed had nothing to do with the haven, but with ken's church and the follwers. a very good read and very capitivating. loved every minute of reading pleasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I replied at gamadin....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Likeable characters in a great mystery. Another winner for Ms. Woods!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My next part will be at tractor res 1
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