Julie Keller relishes the simple things: hot chocolate on winter nights, good friends she calls her family, and her laid-back career as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Julie is content with her life until Chase Rider returns to Bakersfield.
Bodyguard Chase Rider isn’t thrilled to be back in the town where he spent his childhood summers. His beloved grandmother passed away, leaving him a house in need of major repairs. With a three-week timetable and a lot to do, he doesn’t have time for distractions. Then he bumps into Julie, the one woman he hoped never to see again. Chase tries to pretend Julie doesn’t exist, but ten years hasn’t diminished his attraction to the hazel-eyed stunner.
When a stranger grabs Julie’s arm at the grocery store—a woman who insists Julie’s life isn’t what it seems, Chase can’t help but get involved. Julie and Chase dig into a twenty-five-year-old mystery, unearthing more questions than answers. But the past is closer than they realize, and the consequences of the truth have the potential to be deadly.
Sitting up, Alyson relaxed when she realized she wasn’t alone and looked at the woman dressed in a black coat and hat, Becky’s friend who liked to come and play with her and push her on the swings at the park.
“Hi, Ally,” she whispered, stepping farther in the room, looking over her shoulder.
“Hi.” She yawned. “Did you come to play with me?”
“Whisper,” the woman said, glancing over her shoulder again.
She smiled. “Okay.”
“Do you want to come with me? We could go to the park.”
Alyson glanced out the window at fat snowflakes falling in the dark, pushed off her covers, and stood. “I have to ask my mommy.”
“She said it’s okay, but we have to hurry and be very, very quiet.” The woman moved to the bed, grabbed two teddy bears and laid them down, pulling the blankets up and over the stuffed animals. “It’s a secret game.”
Becky and Noah’s voices were muffled through the wall, and Alyson pressed her hand to her mouth, suppressing a giggle. “I like secret games.”
“Me too. Come on.” The woman took something from her pocket with gloved hands and unfolded it, laying a piece of paper flat at the foot of the bed.
“A note so your mommy will remember I took you to the park.”
“I only want to play for a little while. I’m going to see Santa with mommy and Noah.”
“Just for a little bit,” the woman assured with a smile. “Let’s hurry.” She lifted Alyson and bundled her under the pink and purple blanket Grandma Porter made for her when she had been a teeny, tiny baby.
“I need my boots and coat.”
“I have some for you at my house.”
The woman walked to the bedroom door and stopped, holding a finger to her lips. “Shh.”
Alyson grinned and said “Shh” back.
The woman stepped into the hallway and out the French doors that opened to the large balcony Alyson and Noah weren’t allowed to play on and hurried down the long sweep of stairs.
Alyson clung tight to the woman taking her to the park. She stared back at her huge brick and pillar house lit with hundreds of Christmas lights as Becky’s friend ran with her into the shadows of the street.
About the Author & Links:
Cate currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, their two boys, and St. Bernard’s, Bear and Jack. She is the author of the best-selling romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Before her career as an author, Cate worked in special education for 12 years.
“I’m a pretty lucky girl; one day I woke up and my entire life changed. I saw the light, so to speak, and decided I was going to be a writer. Now, five years later, I’m working on my ninth novel, Answers For Julie, which I plan to release during the summer of 2015. I’m remain so very grateful for the support and success that I have had. Thank you!” – Cate
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