While investigating a reported crime, Detective A.J. Rodriguez discovered there wasn't a trace of any murder having been committed! But hearing-impaired heiress Claire Winthrop insisted she'd stumbled upon a slain employee in her father's high-rise building and claimed she could ID the hit man.Although the lack of evidence pointed to an open-and-shut case of a pampered socialite clamoring for attention, A.J. sniffed a deadly cover-up. Powerfully drawn together, the street-tough lawman soothed the shell-shocked princess with a tantalizing kiss that bewitched both their hearts. However, when A.J. pulled Claire into his dark, dangerous world, he knew he'd better stick to police business–or the killer could permanently silence his beloved witness….
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Standing outside in the rain with Claire last night, A.J. hadnât been thinking like a copâ¦
He hadnât been thinking of her as a witness who could break a case wide open for him, hadnât been thinking of her as an heiress who was way out of his league. He hadnât been thinking of her as a kid who was more than a decade younger than him and twice as innocent about the world.
Heâd been thinking of Claire as a woman. A damn sexy, irresistible woman.
And sheâd touched him. Those fingers had cupped his face and demanded he notice her.
Maybe not in the way sheâd intended, but he noticed plenty. Clingy, wet silk, slender curves beneath his hands, dewy lips begging to be kissed. Sheâd asked him in every way without actually saying the words.
And heâd almost done it.
But common sense had prevailed. His training had prevailed.
So, no kiss. But he hadnât been right since.
For Maxie Fireball Miller, my faithful writing companion. You make me get up and walk, you always tell me when the UPS man is here, you let me know when itâs time to go get the boy after school and you keep life interesting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Miller attributes her passion for writing romance to all those fairy tales she read growing up, and shyness. Encouragement from her family to write down all those feelings she couldnât express became a love for the written word. She gets continued support from her fellow members of the Prairieland Romance Writers, where she serves as the resident âgrammar goddess.â This award-winning author and teacher has published several paranormal romances. Inspired by the likes of Agatha Christie and Encyclopedia Brown, Ms. Miller believes the only thing better than a good mystery is a good romance.
Born and raised in Missouri, she now lives in Nebraska with her husband, son and smiling guard dog, Maxie. Write to Julie at P.O. Box 5162, Grand Island, NE 68802-5162.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
A. J. RodriguezâA legend in undercover work at KCPD. This son of a custodian used to be the one causing trouble out on the streets. Now heâs the one taking the trouble right to the criminalsâ doorsteps. No matter what side of the tracks they live on.
Claire WinthropâA sheltered society princess whoâd like nothing more than to break free of her wealthy fatherâs overprotective shadow to get a real job and have a real life. But witnessing a murder wasnât the type of reality she was looking for.
Cain WinthropâSelf-made multimillionaire. His love for his hearing-impaired daughter might get her killed.
Deirdre Gunn-WinthropâCainâs second wife. She didnât marry for love.
Gabriel GunnâHeâs ready to take over his stepfatherâs business empire.
Gina GunnâClaireâs stepsister. Is she on the fast track to earn her own cool million? Or is she after something else?
Marcus TuckerâChief of Security for Winthrop Enterprises.
Amelia WardâThe office temp.
Peter LandersâAn old friend on Winthropâs board of directors.
Rob HastingsâExecutive hotshot with an eye on the bossâs daughter.
Dominic GalvanâHe always gets his manâor woman.
Antonio Rodriguez, Sr.âFormer custodian at Winthrop Enterprises, whose murder is the only one his son, A.J., has never been able to solve.
Detective A. J. Rodriguez sank low behind the steering wheel of his sleek, black Trans Am and peered over the restored leather dashboard into the neon glare and masking shadows of the drizzly Kansas City night.
He hated stakeouts. His coffee was cold, his bladder was full and his left shoulder ached from sitting still for so long in the damp, chilly air.
But he didnât complain. Heâd given up the luxury of whining about the challenges and discomforts of life almost two decades ago.
Instead, with his endless patience and chameleonlike ability to blend in with his surroundings, he knew he was well-suited to such a job. That patience was a testament to his fatherâs spirit and sacrifice, while his undercover expertise was a by-product of the years heâd wasted before coming to understand that Antonio Joseph Rodriguez, Sr. was a better man than any of the cool cats or hotshots on the street could ever hope to be.
A.J.âs father had been a better man than he could ever hope to be.
Static buzzed in the tiny earphone he wore beneath the black knit cap that masked his equally dark hair. His slow smile was the only movement giving any indication that his partner, Josh Taylor, was about to speak. âHey, A.J. You got anything down at your end? This has got to be the slowest damn nightclub Iâve ever seen. Iâve only counted one couple going in during the past hour, and no oneâs come out. You think itâs the band or the booze that sucks?â
âIâd say itâs the two hours weâve been watching the door.â
âIâm supposed to be the comic relief, remember?â Since Josh was hiding out, too, his laugh was barely a whisper in A.J.âs ear. âOur informant said the meeting was at midnight. Itâs nearly that now.â