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Authors: Helenkay Dimon

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When She Wasn't Looking

BOOK: When She Wasn't Looking
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SHE WANTED TO TRUST HIM WITH HER SAFETY—BUT NOT WITH HER HEART…

No woman could deny the appeal of the sexy deputy sheriff Jonas Porter. But to Courtney Allen, Jonas has one major flaw—his badge. Years ago, Courtney’s father was wrongfully convicted of a crime and she vowed to never trust a cop again. But when Jonas becomes the only man to believe in her father’s innocence, Courtney begins seeing the brooding lawman in a whole new way.

Jonas knows in his gut that the real killer is still out there and determined to finish what he started long ago. To protect Courtney and bring the criminal to justice will require all the skills he can muster. And that means focusing on the job. Not the woman who makes him forget his troublesome past and arouses in him a passion that is anything but professional.

Courtney’s gaze traveled over Jonas’s hand where it lay on his stomach, just touching his belt.

Lean fingers, the same ones he’d spread across her back. Jonas’s hands made her think about fingertips brushing over bare skin. About heat and light.

A crash like the sound of metal on metal brought her mind flying back to the present. Her feet hit the floor as she sat up and stared through the doorway to the back of the house.

She leaned over with her upper body resting on Jonas’s thighs. “Wake up.”

“What?” The sleepiness hadn’t faded from his voice.

“I hear something.”

His eyes popped open. “Where?”

“Out back, upstairs. I don’t really know.”

He eased her off him and sat up, slipping his feet into the sneakers he left by the couch.

He stood up in a fluid movement, feet on the floor and a gun in his hand. Courtney had never felt safer.

HelenKay Dimon

When She Wasn’t Looking

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning author HelenKay Dimon spent twelve years in the most unromantic career ever—divorce lawyer. After dedicating all that effort to helping people terminate relationships, she is thrilled to deal in happy endings and write romance novels for a living. Now her days are filled with gardening, writing, reading and spending time with her family in and around San Diego. HelenKay loves hearing from readers, so stop by her website, www.helenkaydimon.com, and say hello.

Books by HelenKay Dimon

HARLEQUIN INTRIGUE

1196—UNDER THE GUN*
1214—NIGHT MOVES
1254—GUNS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR*
1260—GUNNING FOR TROUBLE*
1297—LOCKED AND LOADED*
1303—THE BIG GUNS*
1352—WHEN SHE WASN’T LOOKING

*Mystery Men

Don’t miss any of our special offers. Write to us at the
following address for information on our newest releases.

Harlequin Reader Service
U.S.: 3010 Walden Ave., P.O. Box 1325, Buffalo, NY 14269
Canadian: P.O. Box 609, Fort Erie, Ont. L2A 5X3

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Jonas Porter—
A former officer with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Los Angeles, who leaves the city and unwanted publicity behind for a calmer life as the deputy police chief in a coastal Oregon town. Then he meets Courtney and an easy assignment turns into a desperate bid to protect her and figure out who wants her dead.

Courtney Allen—
She’s a woman trying to live a quiet existence under a new name across the country from her old life, but her horrifying past keeps chasing her. She’s accustomed to running and working alone, but Jonas is not an easy man to ignore…or leave.

Cade Willis—
He shares a difficult past with Courtney. Like her, he has reinvented himself. But he’s not satisfied. He’s now using his contacts to track down Courtney and his decisions have far-reaching effects. Is he a victim or the killer Courtney fears?

Kurt Handler—
The powerful businessman has spent his life protecting his family and their security. He was there for Courtney when she lost everything all those years ago. He’s back in her life again, and danger seems to follow him.

Walt Roberts—
He is Jonas’s mentor and the county sheriff. He helped Jonas land his current law enforcement position and doesn’t want to see him lose it. The biggest problem is that Walt doesn’t trust Courtney, but the question is whether Walt can be trusted.

Richmond Tobin—
Jonas’s best friend. When Jonas needs trusted backup, Rich is the guy. He’s trustworthy and strong, but nothing in the case is what it seems.

To Alison Kent for keeping me sane
every day with your emails.

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter One

Jonas Porter yawned as he marched up the front porch steps to the Craftsman-style bungalow in the middle of nowhere. At ten in the morning he’d been on shift for more than sixteen straight hours, thanks to the Webber kid taking his neighbor’s car for a joyride that ended with a big splash into the Siuslaw River.

When he took the law-enforcement position, Jonas had been promised relative peace and quiet by the county sheriff and Jonas’s longtime mentor, Walt Roberts. Since Jonas needed a break and crime didn’t run rampant in Aberdeen, the small Oregon town where the river dumped into the Pacific Ocean, the job looked like the perfect solution. If a drunk preteen with a lack of common sense turned out to be the biggest problem, Jonas could live with that.

Agreeing to handle one small task on his way back to his place to pass out was probably not his brightest move. He needed sleep, but this should be easy. In and out, and then he could slip into bed for a few hours.

He knocked on the dark red door. The rock beat thumping inside and shaking the walls cut off. He double-checked the house number to make sure he was at the right place. He expected an older lady, a grandmother type. He guessed this one liked her music loud, which blew his older-woman stereotype apart.

In the resulting silence he waited for someone to open up. When no one did, he raised his hand to try again and nearly punched the woman who threw the door open.

“Sorry,” he mumbled as he stared into big brown eyes filled with a wariness that appeared older than the rest of her.

“Yes?” Her smile faded when her gaze traveled down his chest.

A guy could get a complex.
“Ma’am, is this your house?”

“Of course.”

The high cheekbones and slim figure didn’t make any sense. Young and pretty with shoulder-length brown hair, and not at all the lonely older woman he’d been told to check on. This one couldn’t be more than in her mid to late twenties. She wore a slim, long-sleeved red T-shirt and, if his guess was right, no bra.

He pretended not to notice the last part. “I’m Lieutenant Jonas Porter, the deputy police chief.”

“I got that much from the uniform and name tag.”

“Uh, right. Sure.” She had him stuttering like the Webber kid.

“Why are you here?” She wiped her hands on her olive cargo pants but didn’t shift one inch to let him in.

Young or old, she hardly struck him as a woman who needed police assistance to make sure she took her medicine on time. This one could handle her business without any help from him. The flat line of her mouth and clenched fists suggested she wanted to kick him right off the porch.

“We had a call,” he explained. “I’m here for a wellness check.”

Something flashed in her dark eyes. “What are you talking about?”

“Your husband has been trying to reach you and when he couldn’t—”

Her grip tightened on the door. “My husband?”

“Yes, ma’am. My understanding is that he’s away from home on business.” When she continued to stare at him with that you’ve-lost-your-mind expression, Jonas tried again. “He called a friend who called the police in Maryland who contacted my office. I’m here as a courtesy.”

“Maryland?”

Seemed she had a repetition problem. “Yes, ma’am. Your husband was worried you’d forgotten to take your medications.”

“You think I need drugs?”

Jonas refused to be thrown off stride. “Your husband said something about a bad fall recently.”

“Is this a joke?”

That was what Jonas was starting to wonder. “No, ma’am.”

“You obviously have the wrong person.” She started to close the door. Right in his face.

He caught the edge with one hand as the other went to the top of his gun. “Hold up.”

The move was pure instinct. He’d once waited a second too long and vowed never to make that mistake again.

She didn’t miss the move. Her gaze zipped to his weapon. “Excuse me?”

“Let’s calm down for a second and walk through this.”

“Do I look nervous to you?”

“Actually, yes.” Something was wrong here. Very wrong. The request to his office had been clear. The husband had a friend who pulled some strings. This type of thing didn’t happen all the time, but it
did
happen.

This had to be the place. Right number. Right street. The description fit right down to the colors of the flowers in the pot next to the door.

Jonas took a deep breath and doubled back to try a new angle. “You are Margaret Taynor, correct?”

Her face paled. She looked as if all the blood drained from her upper body.

Yeah, definitely something wrong here.
“Ma’am?”

She shook her head as her throat moved in a hard swallow. “No.”

“That wasn’t a very convincing answer.”

“It’s not my name.”

If he hadn’t been paying attention he might have missed them, but she showed some of the classic signs of deception—no eye contact, shallow breathing and the skin color that came right before someone threw up on his shoes. She dodged questions and gave half answers.

“If there’s a problem between you and your husband, I might be able to help.”

“No.” She blew out a few breaths.

Jonas didn’t know what to believe, but the pieces sure didn’t fit. The wellness-check request didn’t match the person in front of him. This woman did not recently fall down and break her hip. Her biggest problem, as far as he could see, was with telling the truth.

He wanted to know what was really going on. “If you’re more comfortable talking to a female officer, I can—”

She waved a hand in front of her face. “I meant that, no, I am not Margaret Taynor.”

“Yeah, you said that.”

“Then are we done here?”

As if he could walk away now and still deserve to wear the badge. “Ma’am, enough with the verbal games. Who are you exactly?”

BOOK: When She Wasn't Looking
12.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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