I'm very excited to announce that the third book in the Secret Lives Series will be released on May 3 by Limitless Publishing! I'll be sharing the cover here in just five days...and it's absolutely awesome!! I can't wait for you all to see it.
As a little treat in preparation for the cover reveal, I am sharing one of my favorite parts of In the Shadow of the Shield with you today. Diana is finally pulling out mourning and allowing herself to live again...
If you haven't read this book yet, you can get a copy here...or borrow it free in kindle unlimited
“So, what are you doing here anyway?” she asked as she pulled a couple of tea bags from a canister on the counter. “Obviously you’re on duty.”
He shrugged and offered a sheepish smile. “Would you believe that I missed you?”
She returned the smile. “I definitely wouldn’t mind if you did.”
“You almost shooting me aside, is it okay that I dropped by? I was down the street on patrol, and my unit seemed to develop a mind of its own. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in your driveway.”
“You can stop by anytime. I’m glad you did.” Diana set out two mugs, dropped the tea bags in them, and reached for the lemon juice and honey she kept handy.
Carter caught her hand from across the counter and held it, caressing the palm with his thumb. “It’s been a long week. I never minded going home to my empty apartment before. Now, I can’t stand how lonely and cold it is. For the first time since my wife left, I feel like I have a reason to be a little bit happy. Being with you makes me happy.” He looked up at her. “Too much too soon?”
“No. I have been pacing the house for days, hoping Louie would text you so you would have a reason to come by. Crazy, huh?”
“Not at all. I wanted to, but I figured you needed a little space after—how did things go with your son the other day?”
The tea pot whistled. Diana poured steaming water into both cups and passed Carter one of them with a spoon. “Jackson misses his father. He’s struggling with the idea that life has to go on, and you have to admit, he did happen in on us at a very inopportune time.”
“Yeah, no kidding. It took me half the afternoon…”
“Half the afternoon to what?”
“Let’s just say that kiss didn’t end in my mind for a good long time.”
“You youngsters are so dramatic!” She flipped a dish towel at him. Carter caught it in one hand, and his expression turned serious.
“Why are you so hung up on our age difference? It’s only eight years. If I were older than you, would it even occur to you to care?”
She felt her cheeks heat up as Carter watched her intently. “I—I don’t know. I mean, it’s a little strange to me to have someone so much younger—I mean, the way I—” She threw her hands in the air in frustration and turned her back on him. “Look, Donnie was my high school sweetheart. I loved him for more than half my life. I still love him. I was not prepared for the way I would be affected by a man other than him.”
When she turned around again, Carter was standing there, his eyes filled with desire and emotion. “I’m not trying to take Massey’s place in your life. I had no idea when I went to the cemetery that—oh, I don’t even know. I was looking for you, yes, but only because I wanted to know what really happened to Massey. I wasn’t prepared for the way—for what’s happening either. I’m still not. Not really. I’m broken, Diana. I have a mother who didn’t love me, and a wife who couldn’t love me enough to stick around. It’s only been a week since I met you, and it has been the best time in my life in a very long time. I only want the opportunity to get to know you, see where— if anywhere—this thing will go. And figure out what really happened to Massey.”
“How do we even know something happened to him?”
“It’s a gut feeling. That’s all I can say.” They were standing very close. Too close. She could smell that musky soap of his again, and it was all she could do to stay where she was. He sure looked good in that uniform. Too good. She moistened her suddenly dry lips with the tip of her tongue. “Don’t do that.”
“Lick your lips that way. I have to get back on the road in a minute, and that might make me quit my job so I can see you do that again.”
She giggled like a schoolgirl. “Oh, you can’t do that. Your uniform is half the appeal. Don’t you know, once a badge bunny, always a badge bunny?” She tapped the badge on his chest with one finger.
“Badge bunny, huh?” In one smooth move, his arm slipped around her and his lips pressed to hers in a quick kiss. “I hate to leave, Madam Bunny, but the streets of Virginia Beach are begging to be kept safe.”
“What kind of crime is there in a resort town in the middle of the winter?”
“You’d be surprised. Hookers still got pimps to pay, no matter how cold it is. Crack heads still need a fix, and drive-bys are very popular this time of year. The discerning gangster prefers not to freeze the family jewels to get the weekly quota of shootings in.”
“I suppose that makes sense, since it was this time last year when Donnie got mixed up in that supposed meth case.” No sooner had the words left her mouth that they heard the ringing of a cell phone.
Carter let her go and dug into one of his pockets. “That’s the Louie phone number. A text message.” “What’s it say?”
“He says he wants a pizza with his Snickers and his Mountain Dew.”
“Hold on. Another message is coming in. It’s a photograph.”
“A photo of what?”
“Hard to tell. It’s pretty dark, but it looks like three people. He says he caught them leaving the house, and they are the same guys he saw the other night.”
“Ask him who they are.” Her heart rate picked up at the thought of a possible lead. “Are they cops?” Carter tapped out a message and then waited for Louie to reply. “Okay, he says they left and locked the place up tight. He doesn’t know who they are, but he is certain they are the same guys he saw the other night.” Carter typed in another message, then set the phone down on the counter by his radio. It buzzed almost immediately with a message from Louie, promising to let them know the second the men returned, as long as he could have an extra-large double cheese pie. “All right, as much as I hate to go, I need to get back out on patrol. Lunchtime is over.”
“Lunch time? Was I supposed to be a quickie on your lunch break?”
Carter grabbed his radio and clipped it back on his belt. “Trust me, baby, if that was why I was here, there would be nothing quick about it.”