Just One Look [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Joanne Rock
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Spending her days practically naked with gorgeous men should be easy. But for body double Tabitha Everheart it's a poor imitation of the real thing. Thanks to her short-lived disastrous marriage, she's an independent woman. Then a bullet shatters her apartment window and she's forced to admit she needs protection. Especially if it comes in the form of sexy cop Warren Vitalis, who takes his body-guarding duties very seriously. Nights of mind-blowing sex with Warren stir urges Tabitha thought had been forever tamped down. This passionate man is arousing not only her libido, but her emotions as well. What they have together is hot--and very temporary. At least that's what she tells herself...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2007
6 Reader Ratings:
KEEPING A CLOSE REIN on his dog's leash, Warren Vitalis rounded the corner of Bank Street and Greenwich Avenue with the same wary alertness of any cop who'd been on the job for at least a decade. Around every bend lurked the possibility of danger, even for an off-duty detective out taking his mutt for a run.
"Hi, Warren." Two middle-aged men strolling down Bank Street arm in arm greeted Warren instead of any danger.
"You guys are done early," Warren shouted back as he sped past the partners who shared ownership of a restaurant and an antique store on the route Warren and Buster ran every night. "Is business slow?"
"Bite your tongue, Detective," the slighter man—Scott—called back. "We just hired help to close up at night so we can turn in early. We're not the party boys we used to be."
Warren flashed a thumbs-up before gaining speed through a construction zone where the street was covered by a temporary wooden tunnel. Notorious places for crime, the passageways provided plenty of nooks for thieves to hide, but Buster didn't look worried. The Akida-German shepherd mix charged into the darkness with typical speed. Warren might not be on duty tonight and he wasn't in his own precinct, but he still considered this section of the West Village to be his beat since he lived a couple of blocks over. If he could provide a little extra safety for Scott and DeShaun, the restaurateurs, or for the handful of people who were out for a walk at 11:00 p.m., he felt a little more worthy of his badge.
Either that, or maybe riding a desk at the precinct for half his shift hours lately simply made him itchy to be back on the streets. His ballistics expertise had made for a fast career rise after a rough start, but it had also tied him to cold case files more often than he cared to remember. As rewarding as it might be to catch a perp roaming free ten years after the guy committed his crime, Warren missed the adrenaline rush that came with working cases in progress.
Slowing down at a shuffling noise between the scaffolding posts inside the construction tunnel, he spotted a homeless guy catching a few z's on a length of cardboard. Buster circled back to stand by Warren's legs, vigilant even when the threat level was low.
"Hey, Larry." In his twelve years on the force, Warren had learned you couldn't save every homeless guy on the street. That didn't stop him from at least recognizing them, since one of the biggest threats to a vagrant's already tenuous grip on their pride was fading from the public consciousness all together. If society refused to see these people, sooner or later they vanished.
There was a time in Warren's life where he'd identified more than Larry would ever know.
Warren started to lean down to make sure the guy was still breathing at the same time Buster's ears straightened. A low growl started in the dog's throat, but the warning wasn't directed toward the drunk passed out with a bottle of Night Train still clutched in one hand. Buster's sudden wariness was focused at the far end of the construction tunnel.
Straightening, Warren listened to the night noises outside the thin plywood walls that housed the laborers from cold winter winds whipping past. Cars rushing by, tires clunking over maintenance hole covers, and the music from a nearby bar were all the usual sounds of this block.
Until a shot fired.
Sprinting toward the echo the same time as his dog, Warren raced headlong through the tunnel, past endless scaffolding and walls that prevented a clear sight of the street. Tires squealed outside as a car took off, but by the time he emerged from the Gotham City passageway, the vehicle must have already turned up Hudson or a road farther down.
He would have followed his sense of hearing to chase a potential license plate, his pace as fast as any detective in the city thanks to numerous Ironman competitions over the years, but already he could hear a woman screaming from a building nearby.
It was the worst night of his life all over again.
* * *
LONG, FROZEN MINUTES passed before Tabitha Everhart could take a breath. In reality it had probably only been half a minute. The shriek of squealing tires had faded to the normal rush of late-night traffic outside her street-level living room window. The methodic thump of cars flying over a maintenance hole cover echoed the erratic beat of her heart in the aftermath of the shot that had pierced her window, shattering it in a vast network of cracks that radiated out from one perfectly round hole in the window.
Time seemed suspended, her gaze locked on the horrible glass spiderweb that meant her world wasn't nearly as safe a she'd been hoping.
"Police. Open up!"
The pounding at the door rattled its way through her momentary daze, startling up full-blown panic. If the police were at her door, wouldn't she have heard sirens? Seen a flashing light outside the broken glass?
She scrambled toward her phone. Dialed. Fumbled. Dialed again.
The pounding continued. Harder. More ominous.
The man at her door broke through, half falling on the floor in a roll he leaped out of, his gun drawn.
"Has anyone been hit?" He asked the question with the weapon trained on her as his gaze spun around the room.
Words failed her. He was going to shoot her.
She clutched the phone in her hand, her body half sprawled across her coffee table in the race to dial 911.
Copyright © 2007 by Joanne Rock.