SWAT member teams with brother’s former homicide detective partner to stop a blackmailer. Falling in love wasn’t one of their strategies.
Needing a peaceful visit with her Fort Worth family for Christmas, Meg Bourland is shocked to discover someone is blackmailing her father. When he rebuffs her offer to help, the Atlanta SWAT team member enlists the help of her brother and his former LA police officer partner to uncover the truth. She fights her attraction for Scott and the immediate tug to her heart. But her life is in Atlanta, and his is in California.
Scott McClaine, medically retired, came to Fort Worth to recuperate from life-threatening bullet wounds he received saving the life of Meg’s brother. Hard enough to accept his new physical limitations, but in Scott’s mind they make him unacceptable for a strong Meg. Regardless, he commits himself to helping her stop the blackmailer. Working closely with her, a bond forms. Could she feel the same?
In the search for truth, Meg and Scott uncover pieces of the puzzle, which threaten to ruin her father’s career as mayor and destroy the family she holds dear. Will Meg and Scott find their way through the maze of family secretes? Will they find the strength to make the sacrifices required for real love before the blackmailer kills?
“Dad, is something wrong?” Again no response. Meg moved further into the study. The pipe smoke smell dimly registered. Was he having a heart attack? She stopped in front of his desk. “Dad?” Almost shouted the word.
“What?” His gaze lighted on her for a moment before darting around the room. Didn’t he recognize her?
“Meg?” He shoved his hair off his forehead and dragged in a breath. “When did you arrive?” He asked in a voice tight with strain. His gaze never connected with hers.
Not a heart attack. Thank God. She let out a huff of air. “A while ago. Are you all right?”
Her father placed his hands on the desk and straightened into the ramrod posture she’d seen all her life.
He used the same word Meg did when things were the opposite of all right.
“Glad you got home okay.” His voice was stronger now. He shuffled through files on his desk. “I…uh…came to pick up this folder.” Unusual for her father to stammer. He was always self-assured. He waved the file in the air and shoved others into the center drawer. “I’m heading back to work now.”
He threw an arm around her shoulder, hustled her out of his study, and closed the door with a distinct thud.
“Don’t mention to your mother that you saw me.”
He glanced toward Meg, but still he made no eye contact. All her cop instincts shouted this was trouble.
Getting to know Marsha West
Marsha visited me when she launched her first book, Vermont Escape, last year, so I had to come with new questions for her this time. I chose to borrow from Proust. Here are her answers:
1. Your favorite virtue.
If you mean the one I think it’s most important for everyone to have, I’ll choose, Respectful. If you treat everyone respectfully, all the other virtues follow. When I was principal of an elementary school, we said as part of our morning procedures: ”I am respectful, responsible, safe, and prepared. I do my best work because we are here to learn.” Anytime a behavior issue arose, it almost always connected to one of those.
2. Favorite qualities in a man.
A man needs to be respectful, honest, ethical, hard-working, intelligent, and most important–have a sense of humor. The trick is to find someone whose jokes make you laugh. I’m lucky. DH cracks me up.
3. Favorite qualities in a woman.
A woman needs to be all of those plus be nurturing and patient but assertive. Do not let someone walk all over you—in any kind of relationship.
4. Your favorite heroines in fiction.
I love Molly Brown in the musical of the same name. She stood up for others and herself. I love Dana Girls Mysteries as a kid. I was an only child and I loved the idea of having a sister and especially one who was a twin. I loved those two girls. Got in and out of a bunch of stuff! As I writer, I’m curious how the author differentiated between the two. I should get hold of one of those and read it to see what I think now. J
5. Your favorite motto.
“Skill to do comes of doing.” Ralph Waldo Emerson’s statement fits with my background in theatre. You can talk and talk to the actor about what he/she should do, but it only comes true when they stand up and do. You only learn to give a speech by standing and delivering. Applied Learning strategies are all about showing what you know. I might understand in my head a recipe for a special dish, but I have to be able to mix it all together properly and cook it at the right temperature to show that I know what I’m talking about.
I can read all the books in the world about writing a novel, but until I sit down and put my hands on the keys, it doesn’t happen. The skill comes from doing it over and over again.
Thanks for having my, Jo-Ann. You always have such great questions!
Marsha will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn host.
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