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.…
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."
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.
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.
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.
THE Q&A with JULIE
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: Who’s your favorite villain?
JULIE: The Wicked Witch of the West
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