Read an Excerpt
Word Of Honor
By Dani Sinclair
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOnly Jack McKay would have the nerve to tell the private investigator Hannah had hired that he'd meet her at his parole office. Obviously, little had changed in the past ten years. Why did Jack have to be one of the bad guys?
And how could the people at the adoption agency have given an innocent baby to a man like him?
Hannah Richards bit her top lip and strove to control the twitching nerves threatening her stomach. It wasn't every day a woman was reunited with her first lover. If there was any justice in this world, the devilishly handsome man she remembered would be running to fat and losing his hair.
"Yeah, right," she told her image in the rearview mirror. It was impossible to imagine the cocky, lean, incredibly sexy cowboy she had known running to fat. Even if it were possible, she doubted it would make much of a difference. With Jack, looks had only been part of the draw. She'd been lured by his rough-around-the-edges image the moment she saw him.
The aura of danger hovering about him had been tremendously attractive to the naive coed she had been all those years ago. Being with Jack had unleashed a wild, reckless side to her personality she hadn't suspected she possessed. Yet that wasn't the whole of the attraction.
Cocky and stubborn, Jack McKay was a deeply private man. Hannah had always suspected his brash exterior concealed a host of vulnerable emotions that few ever saw.
She'd wanted so much to understand the complex man underneath, but all she'd ever managed were glimpses.
Taking a steadying breath, she climbed from her car and stared at the overcast sky, debating whether to take her coat. Contrary to popular belief, it didn't rain more often in Seattle than it did in many other parts of the country. Still, this was the rainy season, and showers could be unpredictable.
She pulled on the hem of her blazer and straightened the pointed collar of her silk peach blouse. No coat. The small umbrella in her purse should suffice if it proved necessary. The temperature was surprisingly balmy for a January afternoon, and she was only going from the car to the building and back.
Giving her skirt a gentle tug, she strode briskly across the parking lot, glad she'd allowed herself some extra time. The bank on the ground floor of the large building that housed the parole office was a godsend. Her wallet was all but empty and so was her larder. She'd have to stop at the grocery store on her way home or starve. Her friends often teased her about her reluctance to use those outdoor teller machines, but she wasn't about to pay a fee to withdraw her own money.
She tossed a glare at a sandy-haired driver who'd pulled his dirty green minivan right in front of the double glass doors leading into the building. No doubt he was waiting for one of the people lined up outside the bank to use the machine. Still, his car practically blocked the entrance. Why did people have to be so thoughtless of others?
Cold gray eyes stared back at her. She quickly suppressed an unaccountable shiver and looked away. Hannah skirted the car and reached for the door. Mentally cursing rude people everywhere, she was inside the bank before she saw that something was horribly wrong. A man with a ski mask covering his head pointed a rifle right in her face.
"Drop your purse and get on the floor!" he snarled in a strained voice. "Move!"
For a minute, Hannah was too stunned to react. He gestured jerkily with the rifle and she glimpsed the edge of a colorful tattoo on the back of his wrist, barely visible beneath the sleeve of his dark trench coat. A hand suddenly grabbed her arm from behind. She gasped and was yanked unceremoniously backward. As her knees buckled, her skirt slid up her thighs and she struggled to pull it back down.
"Do what he says."
Something in the low, soft drawl sent her stomach into free fall. It wasn't possible. It couldn't be! Hannah whipped her head around. Jack McKay's brilliant blue eyes stared straight into hers.
"You always did know how to make an entrance," he grumbled.
Her stomach plummeted straight to her toes.
Given ten thousand years to think about her next meeting with McKay, Hannah would never once have come up with this scenario.
"What are you doing here?" she demanded.
"Shut up! Both of you!"
The thief was nervous. And a nervous robber holding a rifle was the scariest thing she could imagine.
"Get all the way down on the floor with the others!"
Only then did she realize several people lay facedown on the hard tile floor. Purses and wallets were scattered in front of them. A second masked man was busy collecting the items. Jack yanked her purse free and sent it skimming across the floor toward the man. Then he dragged her the rest of the way down beside him.
He hadn't changed at all.
Fear finally pushed aside her shock, though part of her was vividly aware of Jack at her side. He was still lightly touching the sleeve of her blazer as if to restrain her. Did he think she was going to challenge these men? He was the one with a tendency to fight back. She prayed the men would take what they wanted and leave before the tension humming through Jack turned to action and someone got hurt.
As the seconds passed, she sensed Jack gathering himself to move. Her fear intensified to fever pitch. She just knew he would try something. Jack had never backed down from a fight in his life. She ought to know. She'd seen him in action more than once. Hannah turned her face toward him, but she was too late.
Jack sprang to his feet.
He ignored her, of course. Lifting her head, she saw that the men were gone and Jack was running for the door. Around her, badly shaken customers and staff alike were slowly beginning to stand. Hannah sat up, but couldn't take her gaze from Jack.
She had never seen him dressed in anything but jeans and open-necked shirts or T-shirts. What he did for a pair of jeans was practically illegal, so she shouldn't have been surprised to see that he was even more devastating in a dark suit and tie.
A well-dressed woman in her late forties began asking everyone to remain where they were and stay calm until the police arrived. As Hannah started to stand, she found Jack's smoky gaze traveling over her and hastily tried to yank her dusty skirt back down to decently cover the exposed length of leg and thigh. Jack had placed his imposing frame in front of the main door.
"No one goes in or out until the police come," he told an anxious woman who tried to leave.
Fortunately, it wasn't a long wait. Someone must have tripped the silent alarm because the first police car arrived in minutes. To Hannah's stunned surprise, Jack greeted the officer by name.
"They're gone, Terry. I wasn't fast enough to get the license plate, but -"
Hannah missed the rest of his response when the older woman nearest her began complaining loudly about the loss of her purse. Hannah turned back toward Jack and the officer he called Terry.
"I'll get it out on the air. Anyone hurt, Jack?" He looked pointedly at the complaining woman.
"Nope, just shaken up. They came in like pros. My guess is the car was stolen. Two white males inside wearing navy ski masks and black trench coats. They were armed with semiautomatic rifles."
Hannah inched forward. The cop called Terry glanced her way. Jack ignored her completely.
"I think Sonny Wagner was one of the two men," Jack added.
Excerpted from Word Of Honor by Dani Sinclair Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents