Epiphany: An Angel for Christmas\Undercover Santa\Merry's Christmas [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Debra Webb & Rita Herron & Mallory Kane
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Christmas ... a time for family, love and celebrating new beginnings ... With crime running rampant through the city of Atlanta, Georgia, quickly destroying the holiday spirit, only three hard-edged, and jaded cops can save Christmas and protect the citizens from danger. And this holiday brings each detective face to face with their own epiphany, and their worst fears--falling in love. You'll never look at Christmas the same way again...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Intrigue
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2005
11 Reader Ratings:
The shrill sound of the telephone cut into the night. Angelica North jerked awake, her heart pounding as she glanced at the clock.
A bad premonition engulfed her as she checked the Caller ID. Her sister Gina. Again.
Dear heavens, what now? Was she all right? In trouble? And what about her sweet little boy, Stevie?
The trilling split the darkness again and Angelica braced herself to be understanding but firm. It was only a week until Christmas. Time her sister got her act together and gave her five-year-old son the loving, secure home he needed for the holidays.
Anger and fear knotted her stomach as she reached for the handset. Outside, an icy rain pinged against the roof, adding to her frayed nerves. The cold wave the weatherman had predicted had set in, the snowmen wind chimes outside her window whipping in the gusty wind. The high-pitched melody sounded almost eerie as the chimes slapped against the frosted glass pane.
A loud keening sound pierced the line.
Angelica's heart leaped to her throat. "Gina, what's wrong?"
The terrible scream continued, and she jumped off the bed, her heart pounding. It was a child's voice. "Stevie? Talk to me, honey. What's going on?"
"H…elp!" Her nephew gulped between another fit of cries.
Angelica shoved the tangled hair from her face. "Stevie, honey, are you all right? Where's your mommy?"
He cried out again, this time the sound like a ghost howling in the night. Tears clogging her throat, Angelica snapped on the lamp, started throwing on clothes and searching for her purse at the same time. She had to get to Stevie and her sister.
Find her keys. Get her cell phone. Call 9-1-1. Keep Stevie on the line.
"Stay with me, baby," Angelica said frantically. "I'll be right there! I'm on my way!"
She shucked into a pair of faded tennis shoes, grabbed her coat and gloves, and ran for the door, the sound of the little boy's scream echoing in her ears as she raced outside into the cold, dark night.
* * *
DETECTIVE MAX MALONE mumbled a scroogelike comment of disapproval at his partner's Santa cap as she climbed into the car. Detective Sheila Simmons was all cheer and smiles, while the mere thought of the holidays irritated him.
"Come on, Malone, can't you at least try to get into the spirit?" She extended a cup of coffee to him, her new diamond engagement ring glittering as she gripped her own cup. He was sure hers held apple cider or something equally as nauseating and holiday-spirited as her hat. "Christmas is supposed to be a happy time," she chirped. "The time for good will."
"My job isn't to spread good will," Max muttered, ignoring her attempt to make him get sappy over a holiday that he hated more and more every year. He gestured toward the activity on the crowded Atlanta street lit by white lights and adorned with red bows. Last-minute shoppers flooded the sidewalks and stores. Traffic was clogged, impatient people fought for parking spaces, and Christmas music floated through speakers enticing bustling buyers to spend money they didn't have.
"My job is to protect the citizens," Max muttered. "In case you haven't noticed, crime escalates during the holidays." One reason he'd offered to pull double duty. Let the family men and women take off time for their kids. He had no one to answer to. "We've already had a group of teenagers ripping off iPod devices at the mall, a shooting at a Christmas party at a high-rise hotel, some nut disguised as an elf exposing himself to women on the street, and we're still in the countdown."
Static cut into the air before his partner could reply. "Nine-one-one call at Vinings," the dispatch officer announced, "from a woman named Angelica North. She just received an emergency phone call from her nephew at his home." The officer recited the address, and Max froze, his hand going automatically to the radio. He and Simmons were close by. Besides, if Angelica North was in trouble, he had to be there.
"Detective Malone. Simmons and I are on our way." Misty sludge spewed from his tires as he spun away from the curb. His mind already ticking off different scenarios pertaining to the possible crime scene, he ignored the hot coffee sloshing on his hand as he stored the cardboard cup, and flipped on the siren. "Any more details?"
"Miss North is on her way to the residence now," the dispatch officer continued. "Apparently the boy was hysterical, but she couldn't get him to say anything else. She thinks her sister may be hurt, or that there might be an intruder inside. Approach with caution."
Max stole a quick glance at his partner, her cheery smile evaporating. "Hey, Max, didn't you date a girl named Angelica?"
Max frowned but nodded curtly, wishing he'd never revealed that tidbit to his partner.
But Angelica North's gorgeous face flashed in his mind, the memory of their last encounter still burning through him. He'd met the speech pathologist at a charity event last spring, dated her a few times, then finally bedded her.
It had been the best damn sex of his life.
But keeping to character, he'd walked out the next morning without a backward glance or a goodbye. He'd had to. Angelica wanted the whole nine yards.
He wanted no ties.
Copyright © 2005 by Harlequin Books S.A.