Authors: Jennifer Morey
Her trust may be her downfall...
The heat between them is instantaneous. Irresistible. But police deputy Ford McCall has a job to do. And no self-respecting lawman would let a woman, even a sexy brunette like Gemma Johnson, distract him. He knows that evil has come to rural Cold Plains. And if he doesn’t want the petite newcomer to be involved, he can’t take that risk.
Gemma Johnson never saw it coming. She fled from an abusive marriage and thought she’d gotten away. Now her violent ex has come after her, and by Ford’s side, she’s stumbled into an even larger plot. Everything screams for her to turn to the rugged lawman. But desire can lead to danger, and there’s only so much her vulnerable heart can take....
He drew his gun, and Gemma let him go in first.
When all was clear, he headed for the stairway. With any luck he’d tell Gemma good-night and retire to his guest room, alone. But when he turned the corner, they collided. She lost her balance with a small, startled sound, flailing her arms. Catching her around the waist, he stepped down two of the stairs to keep them both from falling.
Her hands came against his biceps and her soft brown eyes peered up at his, her lips parted with surprise. She slid her hands up his arms to his shoulders, enough of an invitation for him.
He leaned down to kiss her.
She parted her lips, encouraging him more....
What a pleasure contributing to this perfect continuity! Full of action and suspense, each book in the series offers a great getaway to a land of paradise gone awry. I hope you’ll find Lawman’s Perfect Surrender a perfect addition to the series!
My favorite parts in the writing of this story are the main characters. This continuity is full of fascinating people who enrich the town’s elite and bountiful facade. Gemma Johnson has spice for life and newfound optimism after escaping an abusive ex-husband. And Ford McCall is the perfect man for her. Haunted by a tragic past, he’s driven to uphold the law. What’s hard for them both is trusting enough to relax their defenses after enduring so much pain.
Writing their characters was a satisfying exploration of courage and the invincible power of love. May you feel the emotion as the two grow together.
Watch out for these titles in the Perfect, Wyoming miniseries:
Special Agent’s Perfect Cover
by Marie Ferrarella—January 2012
Rancher’s Perfect Baby Rescue
by Linda Conrad—February 2012
A Daughter’s Perfect Secret
by Kimberly Van Meter—March 2012
The Perfect Outsider
by Loreth Anne White—May 2012
Mercenary’s Perfect Mission
by Carla Cassidy—June 2012
Lawman’s Perfect Surrender
Books by Jennifer Morey
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
*Special Ops Affair #1653
*Seducing the Accomplice #1657
Lawman’s Perfect Surrender #1700
Silhouette Romantic Suspense
*The Secret Soldier #1526
*Heiress Under Fire #1578
Blackout at Christmas #1583: “Kiss Me on Christmas”
*Unmasking the Mercenary #1606
The Librarian’s Secret Scandal #1624
*All McQueen’s Men
Other titles by this author available in ebook format.
Two-time 2009 RITA® Award nominee and a Golden Quill winner for Best First Book for
The Secret Soldier
, Jennifer Morey writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Project manager du jour, she works for the space systems segment of a satellite imagery and information company and lives in sunny Denver, Colorado. She can be reached through her website, www.jennifermorey.com, and on Facebook—[email protected]
To Sandra Long, ex-detective for the Boulder, Colorado, Sheriff’s Department, for helping me with crime scene investigations. Her knowledge and advice were invaluable to me when writing this story.
Laura Leonard and Susan LeDoux—the best proofreaders I could ask for!
Jackie, my adorable twin,
I wish everyone knew you the way I do.
My homey. Thanks for doing things like watching movies with your daughter in the Jeep while I attend R-rated book readings. No man I’ve ever met compares.
And as always, Mom.
Special thanks and acknowledgment to Jennifer Morey
for her contribution to the Perfect, Wyoming miniseries.
fter talking to the fire chief about final plans for this week’s Fourth of July celebration, Ford McCall tucked his cell phone into its holster and looked with dread toward the front doors of Samuel Grayson’s lavish three-story community center. Marble-trimmed, tinted windows and swooping gardens full of color accented the stone monolith. This was Inspiration Central at its finest, cloaked in danger and deception. The whole town was infected with its cultish poison.
Ford sighed and ran his fingers through his windblown blond hair, annoyed that he had to deal with another woman who’d caught Grayson’s fancy. The Chief of Police had assigned him to question a “very special lady.” She was special, all right. Grayson always took an interest in anything that put a ripple in his perfect town, and he used the police chief to take care of the problem. Gemma Johnson had moved here after divorcing her ex-husband, Jed, who hadn’t taken her leaving well and found and beat her. Now she was scared and vulnerable.
She must be vulnerable. Otherwise, Ford would not have found her here, attending one of Grayson’s early-evening, soul-perfecting seminars.
With the summer sun low in a clear blue sky, the doors to the Cold Plains Community Center opened and a throng began to emerge. He spotted her almost immediately. She wore white cropped pants with a dark blue-and-white sleeveless blouse. All he’d seen of her was a picture, but it was enough. She walked slowly beside the taller Lacy Matthews, the owner of the posh and trendy Cold Plains Coffee.
The two must have struck up a friendship, thanks to the seminars. Another bad sign for the newcomer. Lacy was well on her way to no return. Ford wouldn’t be at all surprised if she already had a
tattooed on her hip. Grayson liked to brand his truest followers that way. If Gemma wasn’t careful, she’d be drawn into his secret tattoo parlor just like the others.
As the women drew closer, Ford couldn’t help noticing Gemma in a very different light from the one that brought him here. Small-boned, almost fragile, she had a tiny waist, slender hips and breasts a little larger than a handful. Lean and sexy. Though her lower lip and nose were still swollen and the cuts and bruises on her face were still clearly visible, he could see she was a beautiful woman. Silky dark hair waved gently as she moved and she had the softest brown eyes he’d ever seen.
Putting a stop to his wandering fascination, he circled back to his purpose here. His job was to question her about her ex-husband and then find and arrest him, not ask her out on a date.
The first of the attendees to leave the building passed. Some greeted him warmly, others looked over in suspicion. Why was Police Deputy Ford McCall dressed in uniform and standing beside his flashy, department-issued Escalade, in front of Samuel Grayson’s community center? Was he waiting? Who was he waiting for? Ford found it ironic that no one batted an eye over the higher-ranking officers driving such pricey vehicles. This was Cold Plains, the city where beauty and prosperity thrived. It was only natural that city officials suited the culture while they worked to keep the town safe. If the Chief of Police, Bo Fargo, wanted to spend that kind of money, who was Ford to complain? He was more concerned with the unsolved murders and mysteriously disappearing residents, all occurring in the time frame Samuel Grayson had been here.
“Ms. Johnson?” he called when Lacy and Gemma were about to pass.
Gemma stopped, and so did Lacy.
The seminar attendees who’d heard him paused with curiosity. An older woman ornamented with diamonds smiled her approval.
The police are doing their job,
he could almost hear her thinking. Gemma had obviously been accosted, therefore, justice needed to be done. Someone had to purge the town of the thug who’d done it. Clean out the trash, as it were. Grayson would love that. But his reasons were different than Ford’s. Much different.
“Gemma Johnson?” he said to the woman’s stunned face.
Stepping closer, he saw that he towered over her small frame as she gazed up at him with those lovely, uncertain, flighty eyes.
“Deputy McCall, Cold Plains Police. I’d like to talk to you about Jed Johnson. Is now a good time?”
After blanching slightly, she stammered, “O-oh…I—I…of course.”
Ford turned to Lacy. “Ms. Matthews.”
Lacy bowed her head congenially. “Deputy McCall.” Then she turned to Gemma. “Stop by Cold Plains Coffee tomorrow morning. I’ll make you a vanilla latte and we can talk more.”
Gemma’s smile was big, tripping Ford up with its dazzling warmth. “I’d love that.”
She’d fallen so easily into Lacy’s magnetic personality. Or was it the smile itself that had grabbed him? Yes. It was the smile. Beautiful. Guileless. Full of innocent delight. Wide, white and toothy. It lit up her face and wiped away all the vulnerability and fear.
Lacy walked away.
Given Ford’s suspicion of Lacy’s affiliation with Grayson, he didn’t trust Gemma’s friendship with her. Lacy had her priorities, and they centered around Grayson.
That smile transfixed him all over again, now softening as she regarded him. The way it made him feel reminded him too much of the past, back when initial sparks led to heartache. He briefly glanced away, only to catch another seminar attendee eyeing them speculatively.
“Would you like to go somewhere to talk?” he asked her.
“Oh…” She glanced across the street to a brick diner with a bright green sign that said Fleur de Sel’s. It was immaculately clean and modern.
“All right. Yes.”
He offered his arm to her and she looped hers through it, leaning a little of her weight against him. She’d be sore for a while but she’d recover. He helped her across the street and they entered the French diner beneath several curious gazes. It was getting late in the evening so there were a few tables open. Unfortunately, most of the patrons had come from the community center.