Still the One

Still the One
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The woman standing in Rafe Blackstock's office was beautiful–unforgettably beautiful–and desperate for his help. But this wasn't just another client who needed a private investigator. This was the only woman he'd ever loved–the one who'd walked away from him without a backward glance, so many years ago….Kit Foley's troubled younger sister was missing, and she was willing to do anything to find her–even turn to the man she'd spent such a long time trying to forget. But their search for answers was proving to be even more dangerous than she'd feared–because it meant facing the truth of a love that had never died….

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“Do you really believe we can put the past behind us and work together?” Kit whispered. “Do you really believe we can be friends again?”

Rafe stared into her eyes for a long moment, then lifted a hand and stroked her hair, his palm brushing her cheek. “Yes, I believe it.” But his body tensed, and his eyes darkened. Was she asking too much of him? Could she even do it herself?

“Friends…” he murmured, his gaze devouring her. His hand slipped around her nape, urging her toward him. He was going to kiss her….

But then he stopped, looking dazed. “Bad idea,” he said in a choked voice.

“Yes.” She nodded. “Bad.”

Kit wanted to scream. Friends? Was she kidding herself? Attraction still simmered between them, an attraction she had to fight. She couldn’t get involved with Rafe Blackstock again.

She’d never gotten over him the first time.

Dear Reader,

Happy New Year! And happy reading, too—starting with the wonderful Ruth Langan and Return of the Prodigal Son, the latest in her newest miniseries, THE LASSITER LAW. When this burned-out ex-agent comes home looking for some R and R, what he finds instead is a beautiful widow with irresistible children and a heart ready for love. His love.

This is also the month when we set out on a twelve-book adventure called ROMANCING THE CROWN. Linda Turner starts things off with The Man Who Would Be King. Return with her to the island kingdom of Montebello, where lives—and hearts—are about to be changed forever.

The rest of the month is terrific, too. Kylie Brant’s CHARMED AND DANGEROUS concludes with Hard To Tame, Carla Cassidy continues THE DELANEY HEIRS with To Wed and Protect, Debra Cowan offers a hero who knows the heroine is Still the One, and Monica McLean tells us The Nanny’s Secret. And, of course, we’ll be back next month with six more of the best and most exciting romances around.


Leslie J. Wainger

Executive Senior Editor

Still the One

Debra Cowan


Like many writers, Debra made up stories in her head as a child. Her B.A. in English was obtained with the intention of following family tradition and becoming a schoolteacher, but after she wrote her first novel, there was no looking back. After years of working another job in addition to writing, she now devotes her full time to penning both historical and contemporary romances. An avid history buff, Debra enjoys traveling. She has visited places as diverse as Europe and Honduras, where she and her husband served as part of a medical mission team. Born in the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains, Debra still lives in her native Oklahoma with her husband and their two beagles, Maggie and Domino.

Debra invites her readers to contact her at P.O. Box 30123, Coffee Creek Station, Edmund, OK 73003-0003 or via e-mail at her Web site at


My deepest thanks to the following:

Ken and Lisa Gonzales for their help

with Colorado detail; Dr. Lee Warren, M.D.,

Chief Resident, Department of Neurosurgery

(thanks, cuz!); Vickie Taylor for hooking me up with her brother, a great source of information; and Captain Scott Spears, USAF.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 1

“What the—” Rafe Blackstock stopped cold in the doorway of his private investigations office. “Kit?”

The slender woman turned. Though her thick mink-dark hair was short now, her eyes were still the same unusual slate blue he remembered and deep with the same wariness, the same uncertainty as the last time he’d seen her. “In the flesh.”

“I’ll say.” On this perfect June Sunday, he’d walked right in on his past, and his past looked darn good. Her faint musky scent squeezed his lungs.

His breath jammed somewhere under his ribs, but Rafe walked in and shut the door as if he hadn’t just had the wind knocked out of him. He was disoriented, his head swam, and he had to remind himself where he was. Oklahoma City, not Norman. Not standing ten years deep in yesterdays.

He didn’t know whether to shake her hand or hug her, so he simply stood there, arms hanging limply at his sides.

She gave him an uncertain smile. “Hello.”


Kit Foley, who’d been his first love, who’d broken his heart and walked away. Kit, whom he’d thought he would never forget. She was here. Ten years older, beautiful in the way a woman becomes when she grows into her skin, her identity. It hurt his chest to look at her.

This case—her case—was the reason his office manager, Nita Howard, had paged him on Lake Arcadia about a missing persons case, why he’d put down that brand-new fiber-glass rod.

Kit’s dark-rimmed eyes paused hungrily on his features. Her voice went soft and shy, the way it did when she was in an uncertain situation. “It’s been a long time.”

No kidding. And Rafe suddenly felt every day of those long years in the wary pull of his muscles, the way her smoke-and-honey voice still stroked up his spine like warm fingers. Resentment, disbelief, unwelcome pleasure fused inside.

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