Luella King has experienced loss all her life. After losing her parents and the most important person in her life, she hesitates to open up to anyone and instead plays it safe. One night, she throws caution to the wind and gives into her desires with a sexy stranger.
Fearing her sudden and unexpected loss of control, Luella runs away from him. A chance second encounter pushes her to open her eyes and give the stranger a chance.
There’s something about Jack MacCabe that makes her feel safe enough to lower her guard. Despite how busy he is with his job as a security specialist, they continue to spend more time together and with each date and late night message she finds herself falling in love.
When a serial killer wreaks havoc on their city, Jack’s dangerously close proximity to the case reignites Luella’s fears of losing someone important to her. Surrendering her fears in order to keep Jack by her side challenges Luella to her limits, while Jack is under pressure to catch the serial killer before it’s too late.
As Jack and Luella draw closer to one another, the killer closes in on their next victim. Soon Jack and Luella find themselves entrenched in a mystery they never saw coming.
**Warning: This book may contain minor triggers due to sensitive topics.
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After another hour of dancing and another trip to the bar, I asked Evie, “Are you ready to go soon? It’s getting late and my feet are killing me.”
“Let’s head back out one more time. I feel like this time on the dance floor will bring me the man I’m looking for.” Evie gave me a sad puppy dog look and began pulling me back to the floor.
I could feel my buzz fading, revealing the exhaustion I felt down to my bones, but I was here for Evie and her quest. So I obediently followed her back to the dance floor.
About ten minutes into dancing, a ridiculously hot guy came up to dance with Evie. He whispered in her ear and she made a drinking motion to me. I gave her a thumbs up and she was off with a quick glance back, mouthing, “Fuck yeah.”
I was about to head to the bar as well to get a drink when one of my favorite dancing songs came on. I fell into a rhythm, finding my zone. I hoped I looked like a high-class stripper, but I didn’t care too much because I was feeling the music, feeling powerful, sexy. I made a sultry turn and opened my eyes, immediately finding Mr. Sex Eyes. I paused for a minute in shock until he raised an eyebrow as if he was asking, What are you waiting for?
The powerful rush of sexiness heightened, adding to my excitement causing a tightness in my chest and a lightheaded feeling. I closed my eyes and began to dance. I no longer danced just for myself, I could tell. I could feel his eyes on me caressing my skin, or at least I imagined they were. Let’s be honest, he could have moved away while my eyes were closed, but I liked the illusion that I was dancing for someone. That they were watching me. Hmm, maybe I had a bit of an exhibitionist streak in me.
One song turned into two and two into three. I never looked back over for fear that he would be gone. I didn’t want to lose this feeling. My breathing came fast, not only from the dancing, but from the excitement. I could feel myself getting turned on, experiencing a rush I didn’t ever want to end.
I swayed my hips low and rose back up when a large hand softly squeezed my waist as another pushed my hair over my right shoulder.
“I almost didn’t come over because you looked like you were enjoying yourself so much, but after such a show, how could I resist?” His deep voice vibrated through me, so close I could feel his lips brush against my ear.
I wasn’t going to look, but a part of me had to check if it was him and not some random man coming up to me. I slowed down a bit and turned my head, looking at him out of the corner of my eye. Hot damn, up close he was even better than expected. The darkness made it hard to confirm but I thought his eyes were blue. His lips had that same smirk as earlier.
“By all means, don’t let me stop you. I just want to participate now.” He placed his other hand on my hip and pulled me back so I was right up against him. Instantly I could feel how much he enjoyed my show. I couldn’t help myself, I leaned back and subtly rubbed myself against him. I wasn’t sure what I was trying to communicate with that move, but I became unstoppable at that point. “Come on, let’s play. Dance for me, beautiful.”
The place filled up fast and the hours flew by. I swear if I didn’t love science so much I could have been a bartender. It was fun meeting people from all walks of life. Even though a few of them could be really weird and creepy, the majority were interesting. I saw two new customers fill a spot on my side of the bar and I made my way down to take their order. I stopped a little short when I noticed Detective Shane Daniels and the newbie cop that Jack had told me about. Instantly, I was alert and a little nervous around the guy, considering what Jack told me a couple weeks ago. I shook off my hesitation and reminded myself not to be a big scaredy cat. It’s not like anything bad would happen to me while I served them.
“Hey, guys. What can I get you to drink?” I didn’t openly greet Shane because I didn’t know if he wanted me to act like I knew him. Last time we talked he wanted me to keep everything hush-hush. I decided to play it safe than assume the wrong thing.
They both turned to look at me and instantly my nerves rose again. The younger cop’s pale green eyes looked me up and down, making sure to take extra time to stare at my chest. By the time he reached my eyes his held disgusting interest paired with a creepy-ass smile. He might have been trying to be flirtatious but instead came off as a creeper.
I didn’t return his smile.
I might have even scowled.
I crossed my arms and turned to look at Shane. Recognition crossed his features and while he didn’t smile, his face softened from the frown. “Hey, Luella. I didn’t know you worked here.”
“I don’t usually. This is my brother’s bar and I work it every Christmas.”
“You know her, Detective?” Creeper Cop asked. His tone implied how impressed he would be if Shane knew me. Ugh! What an ass.
“Not really. This is Luella, Jack’s girlfriend. Luella, this is Aimes Bennet.”
“Nice to meet you, sweetheart.” Aimes reached his hand out to shake mine and I reached to grab glasses for their drinks. No way in hell would I touch him willingly. Whether Jack’s gut was right or not, I did not like the vibes this guy put off. I didn’t miss the slight tension that tightened his shoulders at the mention of Jack’s name.
I nodded my head and asked again what they wanted to drink. To be a bitch I asked for Creeper Cop’s ID. In all fairness, he looked about twelve. I thought I even saw Shane’s shoulders shake with a suppressed laugh. I got their drinks and then moved down the bar to serve other customers. I rarely took my eyes off Aimes. I wanted to report back to Jack and give him every detail.
I felt like I should have had my own spy song going in the background as I mentally catalogued details. Then I laughed at myself for being stupid. I had no idea what I was doing and Jack would probably laugh at me for mentioning it. During a slow period I went to refill their drinks and asked Shane, “What brings you guys in here on Christmas?”
Shane took a drink and looked as though he was about to brush off the question when all of a sudden Aimes answered for him. “We were actually working late on a new murder we discovered today. We decided to stop for a drink before heading home after such a gruesome scene. I’m sure Jack has told you all about this case he is trying to take over.” He rolled his eyes and kept going. “So you know about the serial killer going around and getting more and more loud with his victims. You should see what he does. It’s actually pretty impressive.” He started talking faster showing his excitement about these murders. It sent chills down my spine just watching him and listening to someone seem happy about the horrifying case. I’d watched Jack grow tired and irritable as the case took its toll on him and here was this guy going on and on like he was talking about his latest crush. “I mean this guy has to be a genius right? He’s been getting away with this for years. At least, until I caught on.” He actually placed his hand on his chest as if in awe of himself before continuing. “He pushes the limits and challenges us to find him. Each murder is becoming more obvious. I swear, he’s so good he could kill someone in the precinct, right under our noses and the department wouldn’t even know. Not even Jack.”
I peeked at Shane to see him just staring into his glass and looking like he was counting to ten as he took a deep breath. “I mean, sweetheart, the one we saw tonight had this chick wrapped in Christmas lights like some kind of gift to us.”
My eyes widened in horror right before a hand slammed down on the bar. I jumped and looked at Shane. He focused his rage on Bennet, with his eyebrows drawn as low as they could, over his eyes that appeared black in his state of anger. The right side of his upper lip curled in disgust as a muscle twitched in his jaw. “Shut the fuck up, Bennet,” he growled out between clenched teeth. As Bennet stammered out an apology, Shane finished his drink in one swallow. “Let’s fucking go.”
He threw more than enough cash on the bar and gave me a quick nod. “Sorry about that, Luella. Make sure you stay safe. I’ll see you around.” He turned to walk out, not even bothering to check to make sure Aimes followed. He did follow, but not before he turned one last time to give me a lecherous perusal of my body.
I never thought I would ever write a book. I wasn’t even really a reader until age twenty. But I picked up a romance novel and that was it for me. I fell in love. And then one day I stepped into this indie world of books and I started writing. Then I wrote enough to keep going. And then I had a book. Sometimes things happen when you least expect it, but it all falls into place. Writing is it for me.
I’m a stay at home mom with a degree in chemistry and biology. I LOVE science. If you get me started talking about biochemistry, it’s all over. I’ll rattle on for days! But I use all that knowledge to take care of my two little girls. Mostly while my husband is away being a soldier.
It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I like it … And I think I might stay a while.