Read An Excerpt

by Penny McCall

Genre: General Romantic Suspense, Romantic Suspense

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“Nice,” Trip said when they pulled up in front of her house, a Queen Anne perched between a Greek Revival mini-mansion and a half-timbered Tudor on a street of architecturally diverse homes, in a neighborhood inhabited by families who could trace their roots back street by street and parish by parish for over a hundred years.

“It’s kind of like you,” he said, stepping out of the car and stopping to take a good long look at the house, fronted by gray stone embellished with ornate gingerbread on the eaves and porch surround, painted in shades of white, peach, and dark gray. “Straightforward and serviceable stone, but then there’s all that lacy woodwork.” He turned to give her a once-over, much as he’d done with the house, only . . . more. “Makes me wonder what you’re wearing under that ugly suit.”

A heat rash, Norah thought, but said, “Plain white cotton.”

“I went to parochial school.”

“Nun fantasies? Does everything come back to sex with you?”


“And you wonder why I’d rather be alone.” He opened his mouth, but she held up a hand. “I know, it’s more fun with a partner. I should know better than to play word games with a sex maniac.”

He laughed outright. “I’ve been called a lot of things, but sex maniac isn’t high on the list. Probably because I’m not hanging out with senior citizens. Or nuns.”

The heat Norah felt was all in her face this time. She wasn’t a prude. Okay, she wasn’t exactly porn star material, but she wasn’t a nun, either. And who was she trying to convince? A dozen retorts ran through her mind, but in the end she did the only smart thing. She walked away.

Trip put his hand on the wrought iron gate before she could open it. “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”

“I don’t have any feelings where you’re concerned. Except irritation and the vague urge to stock up on disinfectant and antibiotics.”


“I’d apologize for hurting your feelings, but I don’t think you have any above the waist.”

“Ouch again.”

And she might have felt bad if he hadn’t been grinning the entire time. “Aren’t you afraid if we stand out here someone will try to kidnap me?”

“I’m afraid if we go inside you’ll try to kill me.”

“Now there’s an idea.” And she brushed his hand off the gate and walked up the bricked walkway and the seven steps to her front door.

She unlocked the door and stepped into the foyer, open and sunny, with twin Victorian parlors to either side, the doorways embellished with carved columns and finials. She turned to the right, intending to put her purse in the parlor she’d converted into a home office, but Trip wrapped an arm around her waist and put his other hand over her mouth.

She struggled, automatically, mindlessly, not really sure what, or who, she was fighting.

He put his mouth close to her ear and said, “Listen,” and she froze, but not because of his whispered warning.

It was the feel of him hard at her back that stopped her, his breath hot in her ear, his grip easing from hard to gentle as her pulse thickened and her head spun. Need blossomed low in her belly, spread through her until her breasts ached and her breath sighed out. Her eyes fluttered closed and she fell into the sensations, his hand, loose now, over her mouth, just his palm touching her tingling lips, his arm snug around her waist, and the whole, solid length of him pressed to her from shoulder blades to knees. All she’d have to do was turn, press her lips to his neck, his jaw, his mouth—

“Okay?” he breathed in her ear.

She nodded. Just as soon as you stop touching me. But she prayed he never would.