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Smoke and Mirrors by Taylor Anne

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  • Drug deal and Murder: In her fight for justice, Abby Monroe is forced to flee to protect herself and her family, seeking out the only man she’s ever fully trusted. Seeing him again threatens not only her safety, but her heart as well.

    Injuries and Betrayal: After a close call with death, Graeme Tucker made some changes. No women, no danger. Just him and his beach bar. Until Abby shows up asking for his help and twisting his heart.
    Lies and Deception: As Graeme and Abby struggle to stop a gang of ruthless criminals, old flames are rekindled. But all is not as it seems. Will Graeme stand by his word to protect Abby, or does he have a sinister  agenda of his own?

    Excerpt:

    With the tranquility of the night, it was probably a good time to tell him about what she witnessed. Maybe he would even agree to protect her until the trial. “The reason I’m here is pretty complicated. I know yesterday you said you wouldn’t help, but will you at least hear me out before you make that decision?” He ran a hand up and down his left thigh, rubbing at the muscles beneath his jeans.

    Graeme shook his head. “I’m not interested.”

    “How do you know you’re not interested? You haven’t listened to what I have to say.” She turned from the setting sun to face him. “Give me one good reason you won’t help me.”

    Graeme shifted his weight from one leg to the other. His eyes bore into hers. “I’ll give you several. One, I am retired from the life I used to lead.” He lifted a finger for each statement. “Two, I don’t take cases with anyone I’m sleeping with.”

    Her mouth fell open. The words stumbled out. “We are not sleeping together.”

    He stepped closer to her. Not close enough that he was touching her, but close enough she could feel his warm breath on her face. “That’s open for discussion.”

    “Oh.” She smelled the alcohol from the few beers he’d drank. The underlying strength in his body made her more aware of the surroundings.

    “Three, I don’t take cases with anyone I’ve ever slept with.”

    Abby took a step back. “So you do remember.”

    Graeme gazed at her from under hooded eyes. His stare swept from her head to her toes, back up to her face, and stopped to linger on her lips. “Yeah, I remember.”

    She was speechless. The heat burning in his eyes brought back memories of that one night. The things they did and said to each other. The touches. The feelings. The unspoken connection between them. Abby had been on the rebound of a divorce, left alone by her husband to raise their twelve-year old daughter. Graeme was in town to serve as best man in his friend’s wedding. They met only hours before the wedding and spent the whole day, and night, together. Had it really been seven years? It seemed like yesterday.

    Graeme didn’t reveal any feelings, only admitted to remembering. What did his silence mean? Was the intensity of that night only a figment of her imagination? Was it truly only a one-night stand for him? A way to pass the time while he was in town? Abby had been vulnerable and they were both alone, without a partner. A part of her would not accept that. They connected on a special level that didn’t happen too often in life.

    Now Abby would have to put her questions aside. Those issues were for another time. Right now she needed his help. She took a tentative step closer to him. “You told me once that if I ever needed help, to look you up. Well, that’s what I did. I need you.”

    He grumbled, “You don’t need me, you need my help.”

    “Will you consider it? Please.” She stared into his eyes, begging him with her own. He sighed but didn’t say anything. She took his silence as agreement to help. “Thanks.”

    “Don’t thank me yet. I haven’t agreed to anything.” He pushed away from the deck railing. “Do you have any beer?”

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Smoke and Mirrors

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