Tangled Hearts Series, Book 3
Lies have a way of coming back to haunt you—a lesson Ashley O’Neil learns the hard way when she runs into the man she shared a steamy night with over fourteen years ago. Now tangled in a web of deception, she’ll need to right a wrong and chance losing her heart to the very man she deceived.
An unexpected encounter with the woman he had a one-night stand with has thrown Detective Nick DiFrancesco for a loop. Recently divorced, he’s cautious around women, but one look at Ashley has him considering taking a chance. Until he learns her secret…one that impacts him where it counts most—family.
When Nick’s drug trafficking case goes south, a lead puts him in Ashley’s path. With his family in danger and his heart on the line, he’ll need to fight for justice and risk it all for the woman he’s never forgotten.
Page Count: 378
Word Count: 89020
Ashley led the way through the kitchen to the back door. He unlocked and opened it, checking the outside lock for tampering. He did the same with the screen door, running his hand along the doorframe.
“The locks are secure enough, but I’m serious about keeping the alarm engaged during the day.”
Ashley led Nick from room to room while he unlocked, opened, and examined each window. The last room was her office. A tremor of panic hit her as she remembered she had a picture of her and Sean on the desk. While he was finishing up in the family room, she slipped in and slid the picture into a drawer.
“Your office?” Nick’s tall frame filled the doorway.
“Yes.” She fiddled with her mouse and pretended to check her email, hoping he hadn’t seen what she’d done, and moved in front of the desk.
Nick examined the room with a commanding efficiency. “All clear. Is there a basement?”
“There is, but there aren’t any windows or doors.”
“Then we’re good.” He stood in front of her, and she took a step back until she bumped into the desk.
“Do you have any questions?” he asked.
Plenty, but getting her mind to focus on one while he was standing so close to her was next to impossible.
“I’m worried for Tanya’s safety…for all our safety,” she managed.
“I can arrange for a squad car to drive by a few times throughout the night.”
Ashley wasn’t sure if that made things better or worse, but she nodded. “Thanks.”
“How late do you stay here each day?” he asked.
“Until four or five. On nights when we have evening workshops, I go home and return later.”
“Until we catch Randy, ask Walter to walk you to and from your car.”
She licked her lips. “Is that an order, detective?”
The corner of his mouth lifted. “A request.”
When his gaze slid to her lips, Ashley felt the tingling in the pit of her stomach move lower.
He stepped closer until his shoes brushed the tips of hers. “Twice in two days.”
She could smell the musky male scent of him, sexy and pungent. “What?”
“It’s the second time in two days we’ve run into each other,” Nick said.
“Coincidences,” Ashley said.
“Or a sign you should go out with me.”
Oh, how she wanted to. It would be easy to give in to him, to slide her hands up his firm chest, and lose herself in his embrace. In heels, she was only a few inches shorter, and her mouth was dangerously close to his.
She sucked in a breath. “I told you, I can’t.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“It’s the same thing.”
“It’s not, and you know it.” He leaned closer, and his warm breath brushed her face. “You can’t tell me you don’t feel what’s happening.”
She lifted her chin and stared at warm brown eyes. “I don’t.”
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