Harlequin Intrigue
ISBN: 0373696175

Maggie Wheeler never stopped looking over her shoulder. It was a habit she'd learned from being a cop…and from a devastating event in her past. So when John Murdock moved in next door, Maggie didn't know what to make of the sexy marine. But once her son formed a bond with the mysterious stranger, Maggie knew that past might not remain hidden much longer…

With his unwavering sense of duty, John would never let a call for help go unanswered. Especially from the beautiful wounded warrior who refused to give up her secrets. Although she likely knew more about who was after her than she'd ever let on, John vowed to protect those in need. Only then could he find peace, maybe even a door away.…
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

I want to see you.

KCPD desk sergeant Maggie Wheeler had never seen an uglier flower. Not that there was a thing wrong with the cultivated shape and color of the pink spring tulip or the matching ribbon and tall bud vase.

But the florist's card burned her fingertips, and everything the flower that had once been her favorite represented stirred like a swarm of angry bees in her stomach. She breathed a measured sigh between tight lips. Why couldn't the past just stay buried in the past?

If the young man who'd delivered the gift hadn't already disappeared, she'd have sent it back to be delivered to a hospital or nursing home where the tulip and baby's breath could be appreciated. But because that option had left the building, she had no choice but to drop the whole thing into the trash at the end of the counter and empty out the shavings from the front desk pencil sharpener on top of it. She wadded up the card and tossed it in for good measure, too.

"Maggie." Fourth Precinct chief Mitch Taylor tapped the counter as he strode by, then flicked his finger toward the bank of meeting rooms on the far side of the maze of detectives' desks that filled the main floor. "You're with me. Bring your computer and sit in on this meeting."

Maggie shot up to attention, as startled by the order as she was by the interruption. "Me, sir?"

The chief turned and winked, walking backward without slowing his pace. "If you want to see how a task force works, get in here and take notes for me."

"Yes, sir."

She didn't wait to be asked twice.

The flower was forgotten as Maggie grabbed her laptop off her counter, made sure Officer Allen could cover her station at the front desk, and hurried down the hallway after Chief Taylor. She followed him through the door into Interview Room A and quickly slid into the closest empty seat around the long conference table.

She was used to handling odd jobs around the precinct office, but anticipation had her perched on the edge of her chair. Her gun and badge were just as real as the other hardware in the room. And even though her expertise was paper pushing and patience, she was more than ready to move up in both pay scale and prestige at the police department. At thirty-five, she might wind up being the oldest rookie detective on the force, but she'd finally earned her college degree. She was ready to take on investigative work, ready to take the professional rank test and do the interviews to earn her detective's shield. A little casework experience, even vicariously tagging along at the inaugural meeting of KCPD's new major crime task force, would look good on her resume when she put in for the promotion.
Per the chief's specific request, she'd notified each of the law enforcement professionals gathered here this morning. Detectives. A police psychologist. Uniformed officers like herself. A representative from the crime lab.

You deserve to be here, she reminded herself. It had taken her a long time to feel like she was worthy of anything good or exciting in her life. Sometimes, a new situation like this one could still make her flash back to that awful time when she hadn't believed in herself—when she hadn't even thought she'd survive.
But she believed now.

Julie Miller is an award-winning author--with a National Readers Choice Award and a Daphne du Maurier among other prizes. In 2009, she was honored to receive a Career Achievement Award in Series Romantic Suspense from Romantic Times Book Reviews. Several of her 50 books have appeared on the USA Today, Amazon and BookScan Top 100 Romances bestseller lists.

Julie joined the Harlequin family when her first Intrigue, ONE GOOD MAN, was published in 2000. Since then, she has crafted the best-selling, award-winning Taylor Clan series for Intrigue, as well as its equally successful spin-off series, THE PRECINCT. While she continues to write about cops and crime scenes for Intrigue, Ms. Miller occasionally writes for Harlequin Blaze and other special projects at Harlequin--where her romantic suspense books get a steamier twist, and her military heroes have been especially popular. In addition, Ms. Miller writes single title romantic suspense with a paranormal twist for Prairie Muse Publishing.

The daughter of a Marine and a speech/language therapist, Julie is a teacher who grew up in Missouri and now lives in Nebraska with her husband (a teacher and YA author), son (a college student majoring in Music Business) and an assortment of spoiled pets. She's been dubbed the resident "Grammar Goddess" of her local writing group, The Prairieland Romance Writers. You may write Julie at P.O. Box 5162, Grand Island, NE 68802-5162 or email her questions or comments at the contact address below.

ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
JULIE: Pretty often.  Both as a writer and a reader.  I get lost in the story of a good movie or TV show, too.

ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading? 
JULIE: Oh, man. I was such a shy kid growing up. Reading was my escape so I read a LOT! I remember kids books like MAKE WAY FOR THE DUCKLINGS, MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL, and the ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN mysteries.  I pored over a lot of biographies in 4th grade.  I read versions of pretty much every fairy tale written from around the world.  Nancy Drew in middle school, along with a lot of high fantasy (Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R. Tolkien).  Regular Harlequin Romances and Agatha Christie in high school.  With college came Harlequin Intrigues. Still read a lot of those same genres and authors today.

ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
JULIE: Interesting question. Depends on my mood.  Favorite endearment: Honey  Current favorite way to say someone’s in love: Oh yeah. He had it bad for her.

ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
JULIE: My late dad, the veteran Marine—served during the Korean Conflict and in the Reserves for quite a while after that.  He was a man of such character and conviction. Plain-spoken, hard worker and a man with a big heart. He was always there for family and friends.

ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
JULIE: Beauty & the Beast

ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
JULIE: It’s a toss-up between Scooby-Doo and Wile E. Coyote and the X-Men.

ANGI: What do you like about the hero of your book?
JULIE: He’s a lot like my dad.  Die-hard Marine.  Strong sense of right and wrong and born to take care of and protect the people he cares about.

ANGI: Is there a playlist you’d recommend for reading your latest release?
JULIE: Daughtry’s “Home”, Marine Corps Band’s “Marine Hymn”, Phil Collins’s “You’ll Be In My Heart” (from the Disney movie TARZAN)

ANGI: Where do you read and how often?
JULIE: Curled up in a chair by the front picture window where I can get lots of light is where I do my escapist “binge” reading. (I don’t read much fiction when I’m writing a book, especially as I get closer to my deadline—the other story and voice gets into my head, or, if the story is as good as I want it to be, then I spend more time reading than writing.  But I do reward myself after finishing a deadline by reading 2-3 books just for me.  Otherwise, I’m sprawled out across the bed at night before bedtime—usually I read non-fiction or craft books or cooking books/magazines at that time.

ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
JULIE: My son’s belly laugh.

ANGI: Fairy Tale or Action Adventure?
JULIE: Can I have both?  Sounds like the perfect combination to me.

ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
JULIE: At about age 8 I wrote Indiana Jones-style adventures for my Barbie and G.I. Joe.

ANGI: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
JULIE: Too many to pick just 1.  I’m a movie fanatic.  This list can change daily, but the Top 10 might include: The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Gone With the Wind, The Mummy, Lord of the Rings, Open Range, French Kiss, White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Avengers

ANGI: Who’s your favorite villain?
JULIE: The Wicked Witch of the West

ANGI: What is your biggest vice?
JULIE: Pepsi.

ANGI: Is there a “Blooper” in your story (it may have been changed before printing)?
JULIE: It’s not a blooper, per se.  But since I was using characters who’ve already appeared in various books from my Precinct and Taylor Clan series, I did end up with a Maggie and a Meghan.  The names got a little confusing, especially on a late writing night.

ANGI: How is it working with hot guys and sexy women all day?
JULIE: It’s a great job! I love making my imagination come to life.

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: Hiya Julie!  I love all my heroes as I write them. What’s something special about John that may or may not be apparent to your readers? Were you able to include EVERYthing in THE MARINE NEXT DOOR?
JULIE’S GOTTA ANSWER: I would have loved to have played up the fact that John is an avid reader more.  I love the contrast of him being such a strong physical being (despite his handicap) who’s trained as a Marine, and yet personality-wise, he’s more of an intellectual.  In other words, he can kick the bad guy’s backside in more ways than one.

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Harlequin Intrigue
August 2012

PREVIOUS RELEASES: For a complete list of Julie’s books

Julie will give away a copy of her current release, THE MARINE NEXT DOOR to a blog commenter today.
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter (#GetLostStories) or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes. Join me next Tuesday when I host Cynthia Cook. And come back tomorrow when Liz hosts Maxine Mansfield. And back Friday through Sunday for the introduction of our newest crew member, Susan Boyer. ~Angi

Since Julie couldn’t decide on her favorite cartoon character…who would you choose: Scooby Doo or Wyle E. Coyote?


  1. This book sounds great. I can't wait to read it.

  2. Wyle E. Coyote hands down. I always loved his perserverance...And Julie, can't wait to read your story, John sounds yummy.. but then aren't all men in uniforms yummy? Sigh... :)

  3. Scooby Doo as I was into him as a kid...lsscarchuk@att.net, would love to read this

  4. I'm a Wyle E. Coyote fan!! Anxious to read more of your work... Thanks for the contest!!

  5. i love Scooby Doo even he looks silly lol

  6. I'm with you, Maxine--both about men in uniform making yummy heroes, and Wile E. Coyote. I've always liked smart characters--Wile E. wasn't lucky, but he was smart--and persevered, like you said. A great hero never gives up!

  7. I'm talking the original Scooby-Doo, too, LS. Some of its later versions, like cartoon guest-stars, got too silly for me. But Scooby and the gang and the original Dream Machine? I've always loved a good mystery. I loved, too, how so many generations (my son, too) have become Scooby-Doo fans.

  8. You're welcome, girlygirlhoosier52. Thanks for stopping by! And thanks to Angi Morgan for inviting me here today!

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Eli!

    So you Scooby-Doo fans out there... did any of you have a crush on Freddie or Shaggy? ;)

    Or did you want to be Daphne or Velma? (I was a Velma fan--she was the one most like me, I thought) 0)

    1. Weird kid that I am...I loved Shaggy and all his mistakes. I found (and find) Freddy annoying! LOL

  10. Hi Julie and Angi. Hands down if i had tp pick i love mysteries so my fav cartoon would have to be scooby plus i have my love of dogs too

    1. I'm a big dog lover, too, misty. Maybe that's why I loved Scooby (and Wile E. would be a relative, too ;)) so much.

  11. I loved the original Scooby-Doo and Shaggy was hysterical. I also liked Velma more than Daphne.
    Wile E. Coyote was my favorite. He never gave up no matter how many times things went wrong for him.
    This book sounds great. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the post and excerpt.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Joanne! I like your assessment of Wile E. That never-give-up attitude is probably why I was always rooting for him to win over the Road Runner. At least for a little while.

  12. I love Scooby- Doo, because he was fun during my childhood, and now entertains my daughter. She dressed up as Velma one year for Halloween. One of the modern cartoons I like is Phineas and Ferb, which is very creative and funny.

    So, glad that Maggie get's her own story. I hope I am caught up on the books she appeared in before this.

    1. Hey, Gayle--yeah, my son always seems impressed when I know about Scooby-Doo or the X-Men or Thundercats and other cartoons. Things go in cycles, I guess. Cool that your daughter dressed up as Velma!

      You'll probably be fine with Maggie, even if you've missed a story somewhere along the way. She's been a background player in most of her appearances--sometimes, even just the 'lady desk sergeant' or 'redhead at the front desk'.

      I was so excited to write Maggie and John's story--they've been characters dear to my heart for a long time now. I hope readers love them, too!

  13. I would pick Scooby. He is a sweet coward. He is sure not a guard dog. He runs and hides instead of fighting but I find that endearing. Plus I'm a dog person. :)

    geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

    1. A dog person is aces in my book, StacieD! One of the things (though I don't know if I got it as a kid) I love about Scooby and Shaggy is that they wind up being braver than they think they can be. Yeah, they don't want to meet the ghost, but when they do, they usually help catch it.

  14. I grew up watching both show's and loved Wille ! Of course Scooby was a fave since I knew the Monkees sang the openeing song and appeared on it as did the now late Davy Jones. I've already read the Marine Next Door but I wanted to post, too! Pam and Jenny

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Pam & Jenny! I'm glad you've got the book--hope you enjoyed it and are sharing nicely. ;)

      My favorite Monkee was Michael Naismith, although Mickey Dolenz was a close second. I remember watching them Saturday mornings.

  15. Hi Julie,

    I love reading your answers - we are so much alike. (except I would have said chocolate instead of Pepsi) I like Scooby Doo and Wile E. Coyote. Too hard to choose one. No worries, I already have this book, so I do not need to win this!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Tammy! And thanks for getting the book!

      I must confess, dark chocolate was a close second to the Pepsi.

  16. Welcome to GLIAS, Julie!

    Can't wait to read this one...it's on the TBR stack (which might topple at any minute). And anyone who knows me or has read any of the questions about cartoon characters knows I'm a Scooby gal...hands down. There's something about that scaredy-cat Great Dane that I just love.


  17. I know you're a dog-lover, Angi. We never had anything as big as a Great Dane. But our Maggie that we have now (a 15-lb Toodle) has a lot of Scooby's personality--tries to be brave, but may not always succeed. Loves treats. A lover, not a fighter (unless you're a small rodent, a bug or a snake--then look out!).

    Thanks for having me here today!

    1. Two big dogs here...couldn't just get one. Wow...the mischief! Third dog is here again this week visiting. Glad I have a big yard. Not just for them to run, but it's also three times the poop!


    2. I can imagine! When we first got our Maggie (after we finally had to put our beloved Maxie to sleep), we kept remarking how much less mess there was to clean up in the back yard.

  18. Scooby-Doo all the way! I've loved him since I was a kid. Nothing's cuter that the way he begs for a Scooby Snack.

    1. I agree, Gail. There was/is always such joy in the way they portray Scooby. I love it when I see a real dog having that same almost-euphoric experience with a tummy rub or playing a game or mooching a treat!

  19. I'll have to choose Wyle E. Coyote since our one channel didn't show Scooby Doo.

    1. ONE channel? Oh, wow, chey, those are slim pickings when it comes to watching TV. I thought I was deprived when we only had 3 channels growing up. ;)

  20. Laura AKA Loves 2 Read RomanceMay 16, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    I would have to say Scooby Doo!! By the way I have read The Marine Next Door and highly recommend it!

    1. Thanks, Laura! I appreciate you chatting up the book with your friends. And I'm totally honored to hear how you enjoyed Maggie & John's story. Thanks!

  21. I'd choose Wyle E. Coyote. Very nice interview and excerpt.


  22. And the winner is... Eli Yanti!

    Congratulations! Through a highly scientific process ;) our dog Maggie nosed your name out of the pile and selected you as the winner.

    Just send me an email with your snail mail addy, and I'll get a copy of THE MARINE NEXT DOOR in the mail to you ASAP.

    And thanks to everyone for blogging with me! This was fun!