This week we'll be featuring a selection of delicious and delightful excerpts from our books. A lucky commenter at the end of the week will win a set of books from ALL the authors in e-format.
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Today's featured author is CATHY PERKINS and her book CYPHER. Please enjoy the excerpt, pop the book on your wishlist if you're tempted, and don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter draw below.
2015 NATIONAL READER'S CHOICE ~ Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Cara Wainwright thinks life can’t get tougher when her mother's cancer becomes terminal—until she returns home from the hospital and finds a courtyard full of police officers and her houseguests dead.
Greenville, SC Detective David Morris, is unsure if Cara is the suspect or the intended murder victim. As he searches for insight into her family, their mounting secrets, and the conflicting evidence from multiple crimes, his attraction to Cara complicates his investigation. Is the lure need, manipulation—or real?
While David pursues forensic evidence, Cara pushes for answers about her father's possible involvement, for at the center of the mystery stands Cypher—the company her father built and will take any measures to defend.
When the assassin strikes again, Cara and David must trust each other and work together to stop the killer before he eliminates the entire Wainwright family.
In this section, against her attorney’s instructions, Cara Wainwright has arranged to meet Detective David Morris at the hospital where her terminally ill mother is a patient. Newspaper coverage speculating about her murdered friends and Cara’s role in their death prompted her to give him a different perspective on all of them. Through his investigation into Cara’s life and personality, David is already fighting his attraction to her. He doesn’t know if she’s the murderer, a co-conspirator—or innocent.
Caroline’s hands rose and fell in a frustrated gesture. “Don’t you think I’ve asked myself that a thousand times? Why? Was it random? Were they after me? One of them?” A flush climbed her cheeks, but her eyes didn’t waver. “Natalie looks a lot like me. She was in my bed.”
She stopped, her lips pressed tightly together. He was intently aware of her—how she held her head, her hands. The way she stood and sat. He didn’t want to be aware of her on that level, knew it couldn’t go anywhere. He also recognized the sensation wasn’t going away.
“Nothing makes sense.” Her fingers clenched the edge of the table. Her expression said she was remembering more than she was saying. She was finally feeling the events. Until now, her emotions would’ve been too numb. Her friends had died, violently. Nothing he said could touch that pain.
Biting her lip, she blinked back tears.
Morris sometimes felt awkward when a victim or witness cried, but Caroline’s struggle to control her emotions punched through his professional skin. He wanted to take her into his arms and let her sob, but he couldn’t. Instead, he had to be heartless. “I know this is hard, but I’m not the enemy. I need your help to find whoever killed your friends.”
Swallowing hard, she whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry for your losses. All of them,” he said—and meant it.
She took a deep breath, visibly setting her grief aside.
He waited a beat, but she didn’t speak. “Can you think of any reason someone would want to hurt your friends?”
“No.” She looked up. Her eyes were red-rimmed but focused. “I’ve tried to think through the possibilities.” Her forefinger flicked out. “One, Natalie got mixed up in something in Atlanta. Trouble followed her up the road.”
“That’s possible,” he said. They hadn’t really considered that angle. He needed to call the Georgia officers.
Caroline shook her head. “She never mentioned any problems. And believe me, Natalie can’t keep a secret. If something were wrong, she’d have told me.”
Another finger came out. “I’m sure you’ve heard the stories—Reese and his women. That was before Natalie, but even if he made a massive error in judgment about some woman’s mental state, I can’t believe she’d break into my condo. Or if he slipped up and got involved with a married woman, her husband would have the same problem. How would he know where to go, that Reese would be at my place?”
Before Morris could ask her to explain the “error in judgment” or prod her about Reese’s drugs, she said, “There may be another possibility.”
“Oh?” His attention immediately sharpened. They’d already covered his primary motives.
Her fingers drummed the table. “As far as I know, no one hates me. My family has money, but most of it’s tied up in Cypher. The company’s never been an active target before.”
“Is something different? Have there been threats?”
“I’m not aware of any.”
She was hedging. “Anything from a disgruntled employee?”
“It’s just a feeling. That something’s going on. With the company.”
He found himself in the uncomfortable position of pulling a Pennell. He couldn’t take her instincts to court. He needed something solid. “You aren’t involved in the company?”
Caroline shook her head. He tried to focus on the subtext of her words rather than her perfume and the way her chest rose and fell sharply when she tried not to cry.
“It was a mutual decision. I enjoy my work with Robeshaw Advertising. I called Crystal earlier today. She said the police were there. Was that you?”
He wasn’t going to let her off that easily. “I could talk to your father about threats to the company.”
Her body language said, Good luck with that one.
The corner of his mouth twitched. “Already tried that, huh?”
“He’s big on Need to Know.”
“What about you?” He tried to say it neutrally. He didn’t want to be attracted to her, but he wasn’t looking forward to hearing about her love life either.
“Me? I’ve already told you, nobody’s threatened me.”
“This could be directed at you personally rather than your family. Maybe an old boyfriend?”
She recoiled as if he’d slapped her. “Bill would never—”
“If it is directed at you,” he interrupted, “the guy could try again. We need to consider the possibility.”
For a long moment, she stared at him. Then she released a slow breath and relaxed her shoulders. “You can take my old boyfriends off your suspect list.” A wry expression twitched her mouth. “I can think of one guy who broke my heart back in college, but I didn’t exactly leave a trail of crushed men in my wake.”
Don’t sell yourself short.
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