Unraveling the Past
Book one in The Truth about the Sullivans trilogy
Harlequin Superromance – June 2012
A life built on lies?
How do you work for a guy who took the job you wanted? Every time Captain Layne Sullivan runs into Chief Ross Taylor, she struggles with that issue. It doesn’t help that he’s a by-the-book cop who expects everything done his way. It also doesn’t help that he’s hot. Ignoring that little fact is impossible – she’s tried!
Then Layne’s world is turned upside down when human remains are discovered…and the case has a personal connection. Suddenly she’s glad Ross is so thorough, because he’ll get to the truth. And his search brings them closer, fueling an attraction that’s out of control. As secrets and lies from the past surface, Layne’s biggest challenge is fighting for a future – with Ross in it.
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“I don’t want or need you involving yourself in my personal life,” he told her, not stopping until he was so close, she had to tip her head up to meet his eyes. “In fact, I’d rather you and Jessica didn’t form any sort of…relationship.”
She gaped at him. “That has got to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Why shouldn’t I be friendly with Jess? She’s smart and sarcastic and she makes me laugh. Maybe you’d do better to stop criticizing her all the time, finding fault with her and start finding positive things in her to appreciate.”
“That’s exactly why I don’t want you around Jess. I don’t need your help or your advice when it comes to how I’m raising my niece. I can handle her without your input.”
She rolled her eyes. “You don’t handle kids, especially teenagers. She isn’t an officer under your command, someone you can expect to obey without thought or question. You can’t control everything.”
Something shifted in his eyes, darkening them from grey to a deep pewter. The air she breathed heated, was tinged with his scent.
“You think I don’t know that?” he asked in a low rumble that seemed to abrade her skin. Goosebumps rose on her bare arms. He shifted ever so closer. She pressed back, plastered herself against the door. “If I could control everything, my fifteen-year-old niece wouldn’t get drunk or have sex with some kid she just met out in the middle of the woods. She wouldn’t blame me for what happened to her mother, wouldn’t hate me for bringing her here.”
Layne couldn’t move as he bent his knees slightly so they were eye-to-eye, mouth-to-mouth. “If I had more control,” he said roughly, “I wouldn’t think about you as much as I do. I wouldn’t want you.”
Her heart pounded. Her breathing quickened. Swallowing hard, she tried to regain her equilibrium but she felt off balance. Like a boat bobbing in the ocean. “I…you…what?”
Pure male satisfaction entered his eyes, but it did nothing to soften the harsh lines of his face, the tightness of his jaw. “What’s the matter, Captain? No smartass comment? No witty refrain?”
He wanted her to be witty? To think? Not possible. Her brain had shut down. A low buzzing filled her ears. She wanted to bolt, was afraid to stay where she was, trapped between the door and his solid body. But she feared moving even more, of doing anything that would shatter this moment and bring her back to reality.
“Tell me to back off,” he murmured as he slowly, ever so slowly, leaned in. “Tell me you don’t want this.” His coffee scented breath washed over her mouth. Her lips parted. “That you don’t want me.”
“I should,” she said, barely recognizing the rasping voice as her own. Holding his gaze, keeping her butt, her shoulders pressed against the door, she stretched her neck until her lips were a hair’s breadth from his. “But I’ve never been much of a liar,” she whispered.
She sensed his surprise, his slight hesitation, then he pressed his mouth against hers.