Marriage is completely over-rated, especially after Reese Templeton’s quadratic failure. She’d rather settle down to a solitary life of owning a bakery—after she tracks down the man responsible for her husband’s death and making her a human Taser full of enough electricity to short out a city block or send a man into cardiac arrest with just one kiss.
But alluring P.I. Griffin Chase is stirring up those feelings of need again. Only this time, her desire to be in his arms has nothing to do with her fear of loneliness and everything to do with the current charging through her body every time he looks at her…touches her.
Griffin hasn’t remained at Reese’s side just because of the spark that has nothing to do with her super-human talents. He’s willing to compromise his rock-solid principles so she can find closure. But before they can move on, he must help her catch her late husband’s killer, staying on track before she has a chance to exact her revenge. Because leading Reese to jail in handcuffs may just break his heart for the final time.
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Length: 250 pages
Release Date: November 25, 2013
Griff smiled, and Reese’s stomach did a whole flippin’ somersault.
“I had meetings at the office in Boston and was headed back to DC. I thought I’d stop in and see how you’re doing.”
She grabbed a towel to wipe off her ice-cream-sticky hands. “Crestview is not on the way to DC from Boston.”
He shrugged and pointed at the butter croissants in the bakery display case. “Close enough.”
With a pair of tongs, she selected the biggest croissant and put it on a plate. “Coffee?”
“Of course.” He leaned against the counter and folded his arms. “You have anything for me to check out?”
She shook her head. “Not at the moment.”
“What about him?” He jerked his head toward the sidewalk outside, where Andrew Laine stood talking to the couple who owned the hardware store. “He giving you any trouble?”
“Not anymore. I told him I was married.”
She cursed herself as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Griff’s gray-blue eyes darkened, his rock-solid chin tightening. He’d obviously meant “trouble” because of Reese breaking the law, not because the chief of police had asked her out.
“You’re not thinking—”
“No!” She grabbed the towel again and swept it over the few crumbs and coffee drips on the counter, scrubbing vigorously at one dried spot. “I didn’t want to shove him too far away, that’s all. As long as he had an interest, I could keep track of what he knew.” Even if it kept her on edge and fried her equipment. “Anyway, he knows now. It’s fine. You don’t have to worry.”
“You pay me to worry.”
That wasn’t strictly true. Griff was co-owner of a multi-city private detective firm. He ran Chase Investigations in Washington, DC, where Reese had lived before the plane crash. Reese had hired him to help her track down clues about whoever had tried to kill her. But they’d become friends. He’d helped her through physical therapy, been a sounding board while she dealt with her new reality, and was the only person on earth who knew what that lightning strike had done to her body.
“I’m paying you to do research,” she reminded him. “You choose to worry.”
He grinned and shook back his shaggy dark-blond hair. “You make it hard not to.”
Another group came in, and he retreated to a table with his breakfast. Reese saw Kimmie eyeing him, and the young woman flushed at his greeting. Reese couldn’t blame her. He had the classic “hunk” build, with a broad chest, narrow waist, and shoulders shown off by a tight gray T-shirt. His gray-blue eyes were nothing special at first glance, but they sparkled at everyone and made his charming smile even brighter. No doubt that smile was what pinned Kimmie in place now, wearing a slightly stunned expression.
Reese wasn’t immune, but her friendship with Griff had become one of the most important things in her life. It was something she’d never had before, and she was going to treasure it as long as it lasted.
**The Guest Post**
An Encounter between Characters in
A Kiss of Revenge
Reese Templeton makes great muffins, a favorite breakfast of Police Chief Andrew Laine. But he’s spent enough time in Reese’s bakery—and has had enough of a personal interest in Reese—to grow suspicious of her activities. Even before her bakery burned down in an obviously deliberate act, he knew something wasn’t right.
So Andrew decided to get the goods from Reese’s assistant, Sarah…
Andrew walks into the bakery and glances around. It’s empty at 2:00 in the afternoon, as he’d planned. Behind the counter, Sarah is cleaning coffee pots with ice, lemon, and salt. A lone blueberry muffin rests in the bakery case.
Sarah smiles at Andrew. “Hey, Chief. You’re not usually here this late in the day.”
“I had a hankering for one of your muffins.” He nods at the blueberry. “Looks like I got here just in time.”
Sarah rolls her eyes and slides open the door to get the muffin. “You know they’re Reese’s recipes, but thanks for the compliment.”
“Where is Reese today?” Andrew points to the coffee, too, and Sarah turns to pour him a go-cup.
“She had some personal business to take care of.”
“That’s unusual. I hope everything is okay.”
Sarah shrugs and presses a lid onto the coffee. “I don’t know. Something to do with Brian’s surgery, I think.”
“Yeah, she mentioned that.” He hands her his credit card. “She seemed pretty worried the last time I saw her. You see or hear anything I should keep an eye on?”
Sarah leans on the counter, her brow furrowing. “I mean, she seems stressed, yeah. But I thought it was just the surgery.”
“What about that guy who’s been hanging around? Griffin Chase. He seems to be in and out of town a lot.”
He watches her think about that, puzzle pieces connecting until her eyebrows shoot up under her bangs. “You don’t think he has something to do with the break-ins in the Charms, do you?”
There was a helluva lot more going on in the Charms than the break-ins—where nothing was taken or even seemed to be disturbed. Andrew thinks Reese is in something way over her head, but she’s stubborn and very good at lying. He knows finding her limping through the area after another reported disturbance is no coincidence. And this Chase guy doesn’t make the picture any clearer. But what Andrew can’t figure out is if Reese is victim or perpetrator.
He sips the coffee and hums appreciatively. “What’s she like as a boss? Especially when she abandons you like this,” he teases.
Sarah waves her hands in front of her. “Oh, no, this isn’t abandonment. I love it. I would be thrilled to run a place like this someday. And Reese is totally cool. She has everything set up when I come in to bake, and half the time she’s here with me, except those nights…” She trails off and suddenly looks a little stunned, a little scared. “Anyway. She’s great. Cares, you know?”
“Sure.” Andrew palms his coffee cup and takes the bag with his muffin. “If you ever need help, you know where to find me.” He waves the bag around to indicate the bakery, with a final motion toward the register. “You know, if anything suspicious happens.”
Sarah swipes at a few crumbs and avoids his eyes. “I know. Thank you.”
Andrew pauses outside the bakery. If there was anything to know about what Reese was up to, Sarah obviously didn’t know it. But something had occurred to her, and it didn’t take a lot of deductive reasoning to figure out what. Reese hadn’t been into the bakery on the mornings after the break-ins had occurred.
And Andrew finds that very interesting.
**About Natalie J. Damschroder**
Natalie J. Damschroder is an award-winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance—Love with a Shot of Adrenaline. She sold her first book in 1999, and 2014 will see the publication of her 15th novel. She grew up in Massachusetts and loves the New England Patriots more than anything. (Except her family. And writing and reading. And popcorn.) When she’s not writing, revising, proofreading, or promoting her work, she does freelance editing and works part time as a chiropractic assistant. She and her husband have two daughters she’s dubbed “the anti-teenagers,” one of whom is also a novelist. (The other one prefers math. Smart kid. Practical.) You can learn more about her and her books at www.nataliedamschroder.com.
iFrogz GoLite – 2600 mAh Battery and Flashlight
Reese Templeton can draw power wherever she is…and now you can, too! Win this portable battery and charge any USB mobile device on the go.Winner may choose the color. Subject to availability; comparable substitution to be made if necessary. Shipping in U.S. only. International entries acceptable; non-U.S. winner will receive alternate prize, to be discussed).