Available August 2, 2016
He could be the man to rescue her
Big city K-9 cop Ronan McGuire loves women, loves his dog, loves his job—but when old flame Maddy Morgan moves into his jurisdiction, he can’t think about anyone else. Ronan knows she’s way out of his league, but he’s determined to help Maddy live life to the fullest.
In more ways than one
With tragedy in her past, Maddy has immersed herself in work and swiftly made a name for herself in the hot New York City real estate market. She’s looking for safety, not love, but Ronan McGuire is as persistent as he is sexy, and his crooked smile is hard to resist. But all other concerns are wiped away when Maddy goes missing and Ronan and his bloodhound K-9 partner are tasked with finding her and bringing her home.
“I told you that I’d be there and I meant it.” Maddy Morgan pressed the iPhone harder against her ear. She attempted to block out the sounds outside her office door while her best friend pestered her to within an inch of her life. “I’m your maid of honor, for heaven’s sake. What? You think I’m gonna bail after everything you and Gavin have been through? Hell, no!”
“Okay, well you can’t blame me for double checking, can you?” Jordan hesitated, her voice on the other end of the line with concern. “We’ve hardly spoken and, I mean, you haven’t been home since…It’s been over a year and…”
Maddy stared out the window that overlooked the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and sucked in a deep breath, her friend’s unfinished thought hanging in the air. She nibbled her lower lip and fought the sudden unexpected swell of emotion. It had been fifteen months since Rick died, and a full year since she had been back to the town she had always called home.
At least she had until recently.
“I know,” Maddy said quietly.
She swallowed the lump in her throat and refused to cry. She’d cried enough at Rick’s funeral and the weeks following. No more tears. If Rick were here, he would tell her to put on her big girl panties and get on with life.
“I’m not missing your wedding,” she said firmly. “Jeez, Jordan. You and Gavin have waited sixteen years to finally get hitched. Hell, you two would have gotten married last Christmas if it weren’t for me.”
“That’s not true,” Jordan said firmly.
“Bull,” Maddy laughed.
“Okay, well it wasn’t the only reason,” Jordan laughed. “Gavin’s parents wanted to throw us a huge Christmas wedding and four months wouldn’t have been enough time to pull it all together. Deciding to wait a year has been a win-win. My future mother in law had plenty of time to do her thing and we all had time to properly grieve for Rick. But I’m still worried about you…”
“I’m fine, Jordan and I promise—I’m gonna be there to witness your dream coming true.”
“Yo, Maddy.” The increasingly irritating voice of Chris Drummond shot into the room as he barged in. “That blonde, the Brenda chick—are you gonna to take her out to an Open House this weekend or should I? And what about those newlyweds? I know you’ve been slammed. I could take them out to see the new listings if you want.”
“Hang on, Jordan,” Maddy said tightly.
She covered the phone with her hand and leveled an irritated gaze at her colleague. She knew that Terrence, the owner of the realty house, had hired Drummond because he had an amazing reputation for selling and one of the best portfolios in the business, but he was a letch. A letch that thought anyone with boobs wanted him. Maddy had learned a long time ago that big talent usually meant even bigger egos.
Unfortunately, this talent was also turning out to be an asshole. She had already reported him once to Terrence for inappropriate advances on the young women in the office. Big talent or not, she was getting tired of him and his misogynistic bullshit. And lately there had been attempts to steal her clients.
“Did you happen to notice that my door was closed?”
He leaned in the doorway with his casual arrogance. Tall, slim, well dressed, and always perfectly coiffed, he was considered good looking by most. But the air of entitlement he wore like a cloak was a turn-off as far as Maddy was concerned. Besides, she would never date a colleague.
“I’m on a call.”
“Right.” He jutted his thumb over his shoulder. “Anyway, should I take that Brenda chick out and uh…show her the ropes? We could take the newlyweds, the uh…”
“The Bartholemews,” Maddy finished for him. “No. I can handle my client list. Thank you.”
“Fine, then let me take Brenda out.”
The smarmy smile on his face gave Maddy pause. He’d been hitting on the assistants, who were savvy New Yorkers and more than capable of handling themselves, but now he was moving on to the young realtor. Brenda was a recent college grad from the mid-west. She was pretty, smart, and naive.
A prime target for a guy like Drummond.
“No,” Maddy said firmly. “Terrence asked me to handle her training. Thank you and please close the door on your way out.”
His smile faded and a hard cold look settled in his eyes. Maddy had moved up the ranks quickly since joining Cosmopolitan Realty House and her rise didn’t go unnoticed by Drummond. He hated not being number one but she suspected that being second to a woman was a bigger insult.
“Sure thing,” he murmured.
Drummond left but neglected to shut the door. Maddy crossed the room, pausing only to tell Sharon, her assistant, to hold her other calls before she closed her door once more.
“Sorry about that, Jordan.” She caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window and grimaced before running one hand through her unruly brown curls. “I’m coming into town a week before the wedding so I can help you with whatever you need. Y’know…all that bridesmaidy kind of stuff. I mean, I’m not a real girly girl, but it’ll be fun to hang out. And tell Gavin he better not try to horn in on our girl’s night out. It might only be the two of us, but there’s a no-boys-allowed rule in effect for that event.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Jordan said through a chuckle. “All four of his brothers are coming in early as well. From what I hear, Ronan has quite the bachelor party planned. Speaking of Ronan, why don’t you two ride back to Old Brookfield together? I mean, you’re both in the city and he is the best man.”
“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. I’ll take my own car, thank you very much. I’m staying at the Old Brookfield Inn and Ronan will be at his parents’ house, obviously.” Maddy’s eyes narrowed and the smile on her face grew. “Your matchmaking scheme hasn’t worked, Jordan. But I’ll give you and Gavin an ‘A’ for effort.”
“What are you talking about?” Jordan asked with feigned innocence. “When you moved to the city last year, Gavin merely suggested that Ronan should look out for you. He’s been a cop there for over a decade. Besides. I heard through the McGuire brother grapevine that you two have been going running on the weekends, so Ronan can’t be all bad.”
Nope. That was half the problem. He was exactly the right kind of bad.
They had been going jogging in Central Park almost every weekend for the past several months but Maddy had made it clear from the start: she wasn’t interested in dating. Not him, nor anyone else. Friends? Sure? Romance? No way.
Her heart couldn’t take another turn through the shredder. Dating a cop, just because he also happened to be one of the sexiest men God ever put on this earth, would not be a smart move.
Besides, Ronan had a reputation as a total ladies’ man.
Not that she could blame any woman for taking a ride on that handsome train. When he flashed that lopsided grin and his bluish-green eyes crinkled at the corners, it took superwoman strength for Maddy to not drop her panties. He was a combination of mischievous little boy and irresistible alpha male—a deadly pairing.
Ronan McGuire was wickedly sexy. The worst part was, he knew it.
“Well, yeah,” Maddy said quickly. She sat at her desk and spun the chair so she could see the rest of the world. Living and working in this city made her feel like a rat in a cage sometimes. “Running around, getting sweaty and panting in the cold is not exactly dating, Jordan.”
“Sweaty and panting sounds promising,” Jordan teased.
Maddy’s face flushed. “That’s not what I meant.” She quickly added, “I was talking about Bowser.”
“Sure,” her friend said slowly. “Sure you were.”
“You know Ronan doesn’t go anywhere without that dog. Speaking of which, are you prepared to have a drooling animal at your wedding?”
“Oh fine, change the subject,” Jordan sighed. “Any chance I can talk you into coming for Thanksgiving?”
“Sorry, babe. I’m slammed.”
“Then how about staying for Christmas? The wedding is on the 23rd. Come on. Please? The girls would love it,” she said, referring to her two adorable daughters. “You’re going to be here for a week, so what’s a couple more days? You said they were closing your office between Christmas and New Year’s anyway.”
Maddy had never been part of big family holidays and that had been fine by her, but the pleading tone in Jordan’s voice was starting to make her rethink her decision.
“You know the holidays were never a big deal for me, Jordan. My mom hated celebrating it after my dad died and then once she was gone, I didn’t really want to. And besides,” she added quickly, “Rick and I never even got a tree or anything. He was always working and so was I.”
“I know but I hate to think of you alone in that big city on Christmas. Again. It’s bad enough you wouldn’t come last year. Please think about it?”
“I’m hosting a huge New Year’s Eve party for my clients—it’s at my apartment.”
“You could leave on the twenty sixth and still be back in plenty of time to be party ready,” Jordan persisted. “I’m sorry but I’ll have to call bullshit on that reason. You and I both know your assistant has got the whole shindig already tied up and ready to go.”
Jordan was right. The party was a lame excuse not to spend the holiday with them. Besides, it was all being catered and the invitations had been sent. What did Maddy really have to do other than show up and schmooze? And what was here for her on Christmas? She didn’t even have a cat or a fish to feed.
Ugh. She felt more pathetic by the second.
“Okay,” she said with a dramatic sigh. “I’ll think about it. Jeez. When did you become such a nudge?”
“Since I had two children and learned that being a nudge can sometimes be quite effective.”
A knock on Maddy’s door sent a flicker of irritation up her back. But when she spun around, Sharon’s tear-stained face stopped her cold.
“Girl, I have to go.” A knot of dread curled in her gut. “I’ll see you in a few weeks. Give Gracie and Lilly a kiss from Aunt Maddy.”
Maddy hit end and set the phone on her desk. Her legs felt like Jell-O as she rose to her feet. Sharon was still weeping while she closed the door behind her, and before it shut Maddy saw two of the other agents in the office crying.
“Sharon, what is it?”
“Th-they found her.”
“Who?” Maddy asked shakily, her fingertips pressing into the mahogany desk. But she knew the answer before Sharon said it.
“Lucille Bowman.” The young woman swiped at her eyes and let out a shuddering sob. “She’s dead.”
Book Tour Information
Enter below for a chance to win a copy of the first book in the series, Brave the Heat!