Friday, December 11, 2015

Excerpt from Untamed

Duty Bound, 3
By J. S. Marlo
Romantic Suspense
Champagne Books:

Shaped by tragedy. Bound by duty. Driven by justice. Avery trusts his instinct, not the law, to protect a deaf woman and her young son.


On most days it didn’t bother Hannah that her son didn’t eat any faster than fresh paint dried on a cool, rainy day. Today it did. “We need to get into town. Would you hurry and eat your breakfast?”

Rory looked at her with big blue eyes, so much like her own, but when his mind wandered, his gaze lost its focus, and she could see his father in him. Not a memory she wanted to dwell on.

“If you finish your oatmeal, I promise to buy you some Timbits.” Doughnut holes were her son’s favorite treat, and while blackmailing wasn’t a technique on which she often relied, his slow pace didn’t give her much of a choice. They couldn’t be late for church. Not today.

He shoved a big spoonful in his mouth then dropped the utensil into the bowl, splashing oatmeal onto his pajama top.

A sigh expanded inside Hannah’s chest. “What is it?” After half an hour, there was no way his breakfast was too hot.

Snowflake zoomed out of the kitchen at the same time Rory knocked with his fist into thin air. Three times. One of the many secret codes that bridged their worlds together.

“I will go answer the door. You keep eating, okay?” Without waiting for an acknowledgment, she crossed into the living room.

The dog scratched at the door, her short tail wagging like a windmill. With her foot, Hannah nudged the animal aside. A front of frigid air swept inside the cabin when she answered.

“Hello, Hannah.”

“Cooper?” At the best of times, the constable’s visits were an inconvenience she tolerated. Today, she had no patience to spare for the young, cocky officer. With his curly strawberry blond hair, turquoise eyes, disarming smile, and strapping physique, he could have been a poster boy for model agencies. Unfortunately for him, she was immune to his charms.

As if Snowflake sensed her annoyance, she leapt at the unwelcomed officer and sank her teeth into his leather boots. Cooper shook his leg, frowning, and Snowflake retreated behind the couch.

“The pooch doesn’t like me, does he?” The greeting might as well have been written on the front of his uniform. He repeated it every time he stopped by.

“No, she doesn’t.” Hannah had stopped counting how often she’d corrected him. By now, the sex of her dog should have sunk in. “What do you want?”

By skipping the pleasantries, she hoped to shorten his stay.

“I’m attending a colleague’s funeral in a few hours. Why don’t you send the boy to his room and show some compassion?” As he took a step inside, he unzipped his jacket. One hand lingered on his big, shiny belt buckle, and she fantasized about chopping off the appendage. “Checking on you every week isn’t part of my job description. I deserve some kind of compensation on a day like this.”

His gall sickened her, but as much as she wanted to report him for sexual harassment, she couldn’t. Cooper would claim she had misread his lips, blame the misunderstanding on the lack of a hearing aid.

The words of a supposedly respected RCMP officer against the words of a deaf woman once arrested for prostitution. She would lose. The incident would tear her already tarnished reputation to shreds. Such was the price for silence.

“I have a better idea, Cooper. Stop checking on me and get out. I’d hate to mistake you for a bear and shoot you.”

He stared her down, but she held his gaze. After what felt like an eternity, he gripped the doorknob. “You’re alone in the woods, Parker. Don’t push your luck.”

And with this cryptic advice, he left.

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