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Don't Go by Beverley Bateman

Don’t Go is a dark romantic suspense that takes place predominantly in Reno. Sam is a Washoe Sheriff detective with a background of sexual abuse. Now she works in teen chatrooms to catch sexual predators.

 

A serial killer is targeting blonde teen girls in chatroms and one of the girls from Sam’s chatrooms is now missing.

 

Devlin is a Reno cop who like undercover work and doesn’t do missing kids – except they’re short staffed and he’s assigned a missing girl. He doesn’t believe in relationships and likes one night stands. Now he’s stuck working a case with a computer smart detective who obviously doesn’t do one night stands and has no use for Reno police.

 

Reluctantly, they must work together to solve this case. Can they resolve their personal issues and bring down a serial killer?

 

 
 
 

Excerpt

Hot anger burned a hole in his gut as he wrote. He shouldn’t be here with this desperate woman.

“When did you see her last?” he snapped.

Startled, the woman jerked back in her chair. Tears gushed down her hollow cheeks. “Like I said, this…this morning before she left for school, but she didn’t go to school. I don’t know why. She said she was going to school. They phoned and said she wasn’t in class. I didn’t know what to think. Why didn’t she go to school? She’s a good girl. She’s never been any trouble.”

At the woman’s reaction Dev took several deep breaths. It wasn’t her fault he was sitting here getting madder. It was the captain’s—and the flu season. He took a deep breath and slowly counted to ten. “Your husband, will he be coming down?”

“John?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I’m not sure.” Her eyes clouded over. “He’s…he’s at work today.”

“I see.” Dev shoved his folding metal chair back toward the wall, scraping the legs against the cheap tile covering the cement floor. The grating sound echoed through the room.

His fingers death-gripped the edge of the table, his lips clenched, he yanked himself to his feet. “Excuse me, Mrs. Morrison, I’ll be right back.”

He made it to the door in two strides. The door slammed behind him as he stomped into the corridor. His anger crashed through like a tidal wave. He pounded his fist against the wall, rattling the old photos of every bloody past Reno PD chief and city councilman since the twenties.

“What’re you doin’, O’Reilly? You ain’t finished with her.” Captain Drummond emerged from the room where he’d been watching the interrogation. The man stood over six feet, with a face like a bulldog, and a build to match. He didn’t need to raise his deep voice as it rumbled for several miles around.

No one messed with the captain.

“I couldn’t sit there with that pathetic woman any longer. I would have upset her more. I don’t do missing kids cases anymore, but I still know the drill, and the outcome. I know for a fact with younger kids, forty-four percent are dead within the first hour, seventy-five percent are dead within three hours.”

“So you know the stats. Good for you. Do you know how to work the case?”

“I know we’ve got about seventy-two hours max, to get her back alive. The mother didn’t even report her missing until now. We’ve already lost eight hours.”

“You’re right. So get going and make sure we don’t have another statistic.”

“Look captain, I need to be back in undercover, taking down some scumbag druggie in an alley, getting the information we need.”

“Right, using your gun in his mouth for persuasion? That’s not how we work. We have new ways of policing these days. You need to get with the program.”

“What? We put the criminal first and worrying about the perp’s rights instead of those of the victim. It bugs the hell out of me when some sewer scum bitch-slaps a ninety year old lady for her purse and walks because of a technicality.”

“I agree, so we have to make sure all those technicalities are covered. You need to take care of that attitude, lieutenant.”

Taller than the captain by an inch or two, and twenty years younger, Dev stared at the man parked in front of him.

“You need to get someone else to do this one, captain. I don’t do kids any more. After a few years, burnout gets to you. I do undercover now. Drug deals and murder are cases that actually bring down criminals and make a difference. Why are you assigning this woman to me?”

Don't Go by Beverley Bateman

Don’t Go is a dark romantic suspense that takes place predominantly in Reno. Sam is a Washoe Sheriff detective with a background of sexual abuse. Now she works in teen chatrooms to catch sexual predators.

 

A serial killer is targeting blonde teen girls in chatroms and one of the girls from Sam’s chatrooms is now missing.

 

Devlin is a Reno cop who like undercover work and doesn’t do missing kids – except they’re short staffed and he’s assigned a missing girl. He doesn’t believe in relationships and likes one night stands. Now he’s stuck working a case with a computer smart detective who obviously doesn’t do one night stands and has no use for Reno police.

 

Reluctantly, they must work together to solve this case. Can they resolve their personal issues and bring down a serial killer?

 

 
 
 

Excerpt

 

She leaned back in her chair. Her forehead squeezed against her skull, shooting barbs of pain to her eyes. The chocolate hadn’t helped the stress.

“How did I miss this one?” She punched her fist into her palm. Insidious memories crept from the dark corners of her subconscious, spun a cocoon around her and dragged her back into the dark, tangled web of her own past.

The sickening sweet smell of overpowering aftershave snaked up her nostrils; fat, sweaty palms grasped at her thighs. She knew what was going to happen. She was unable to scream, unable to escape…no one to help her.

The images crashed over her, scattering years of counseling like broken shells on a beach, covering her soul with the spray of desperation and anger.

Sam scrubbed at a tear drifting down her cheek, and forced the images back into the darkness, back into the locked box.

It’s not about me. It’s about this girl and another predator creep.

With clenched fists she white-knuckled the arms of the chair to keep from throwing the damn computer against the wall.

“Find anything?” Kerensa strolled back into the computer room, a partially eaten sugar donut in her fingers. A faint white trail drifted behind her. “They got a whole box of these out there if you want to grab one before the other detectives get back and scarf them all.”

“Damn it! I should have seen it coming. Where the hell are they?” Sam kicked her chair away from the computer and stood. “No thanks. Those things can kill you. I’d have to work out an extra hour tonight.”

“Hey, they’re no worse than that stash of chocolate you hide in your bottom drawer.”

“A girl has to have something to combat the frustration. Besides, dark chocolate is good for you.”

“Right, if you say so. You know, girlfriend, you need to learn to relax, enjoy life, and find a man who likes his woman well-padded.” Kerensa patted the green uniform shirt stretched across her protruding belly. A safety pin protected a button from popping off.

“Like Tim?” Sam allowed a faint smile to tug at the corners of her mouth. “You’re lucky. Chocolate is my replacement for men. Chocolate won’t screw with me.”

“Too bad, ’cause being a natural blonde with a great bod, you could probably get any man you wanted.”

“Yeah, right.” Sam shook her head and walked toward the door. “I’m taking a break, but not to get donuts. I need to think.”

“Take your time, girl. Hey, if there’s any of those donuts left, bring one back for me, will ya?”

Sam nodded. She rubbed her temples with her fingers, trying to exorcise the images of what the girl would go through if she met that damn creep. A sigh slithered out into the squad room as she headed toward the pot holding the day-old coffee.

“You okay?” Pete Sandusky nodded in her direction.

The acrid, slightly burnt odor of chicory and rancid coffee beans made her wrinkle her nose before she even reached the coffee maker.

She shook her head, poured a half cup of the sludge, and rested her butt against the table beside the box of sugar donuts. “No. Not really.”

With her mug clutched in both hands, she stared across at Pete. He was a good cop. He’d been there about twenty years and looked everyday of it. Gray fringe around a shiny pate; round, gold-rimmed glasses perched on a short, flat, boxer-type nose, and an inner tube that had settled around his waist under the dark green uniform.

“It’s a feeling I’ve got.” After a quick sip of the disgusting liquid she stuck out her tongue. “Yech. Why doesn’t someone throw this crap out?”

Pete shrugged. “What doesn’t feel right?”

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

“Maybe I’ll stay for a few minutes.” Julie Ann sat down, closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair. She’d listened to that harmonica for a lot of years growing up. 

She drifted off. It had been a long day. 

Julie Ann jerked awake. “Sorry, guys, I’m almost asleep. I really have to get to bed. Thanks for dinner Savannah and the after-dinner music Charlie. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.”

“You be careful now. We still don’t know why Perrine was killed. You’re at risk too. You see or hear anything you high tail it over here.”

“I will.” She headed out the door and checked carefully before she crossed the street.

She opened the creaky gate and stopped. The curtains in Perrine’s living room moved. A shiver proceeded down Julie Ann’s spine. She should have left a light on.

Was there someone in the house? Was she in danger? Maybe it was Mom? 

 

* * * 

 

Julie Ann glanced over her shoulder to Savannah’s house. She debated going back but decided to go inside, carefully. She inserted the key in the lock and waited. Nothing. She turned the doorknob. No visions. 

Julie Ann cautiously stepped to one side and pushed open the door. It swung back. She stepped into the room, turned on the light and looked around. No one appeared to have been there. She closed the door, locked it and dropped the key into her bag. She checked that the back door was locked, then picked up the voodoo doll she’d brought back home and climbed up the stairs to her old room. 

Her bag still over her shoulder she opened the third bedroom door. It was her room. She scanned the room. The single wooden bed, with another homemade patchwork quilt, still stood against the wall. The battered, second-hand desk with the straight back wooden chair and the hand-painted yellow dresser all brought back memories. Memories of her and Mom painting the dresser sunshine yellow, Mom reading her bedtime stories every night and Mom trying to help her with her homework at the battered desk, bubbled up inside her. 

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

Immediately he gave himself a mental slap and tightened his grip on her large suitcase. He followed her out the door reminding himself, one, she was family of a victim. And two, he only did no string relationships. She had strings written all over her. Back off O’Reilly.

“You’re looking better. Sleep well?”

Julie Ann nodded. “I went out like a light. Thanks.”

“Did you eat breakfast?”

Julie Ann nodded. “I’m usually not much of a breakfast person, but with a busy day in front of me I ordered room service and pigged out on bacon and eggs. No grits.”

“No grits?”

“I know I’m in New Orleans, but breakfast is bad enough, let alone with grits on the plate.”

“At least you got your protein for energy. My mother says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’ll take the doll to forensics.”

“I want to keep the doll for now, if it’s okay. There’s someone I’d like to see it. Then I’ll turn it over to you.”

Connor hesitated. “Okay, as long as you turn it over soon.”

They headed for the elevator.

“Did they find anything voodoo at the crime scene?”

Connor shook his head. “Not that I’m aware of. Why?”

“I wondered, since someone put the doll in my room.”

The elevator slowed to a stop and Connor stepped to one side to let Julie Ann exit first. “The car’s parked out front.”

Julie Ann walked briskly through the lobby, unaware of the admiring glances from most of the men checking her out. Connor noticed though and fought the impulse to tell them to quit drooling.

On the street Julie Ann paused by his dark sedan. It was still early so the temperature was bearable, but the humidity immediately started to seep through her top. She waited for Connor to catch up so she could climb into air-conditioning. She glanced up and down the street.

Connor noticed her checking out the street. He dropped the luggage in the trunk. Someone must have followed them from the house yesterday. That’s the only way they’d know where she was. Was she checking to see if anyone was watching them today?

He needed to be aware of that possibility. He opened the passenger door and lightly touched her curls to make sure she didn’t bump her head when she slid into the seat. A warm sensation shot right to his groin.

He pulled his hand back and reminded himself again of the reasons he couldn’t get involved with a victim of a crime, especially this one.

“Slide in and I’ll get that air-conditioning going.”

“Thanks.”

Connor drove through the narrow streets, periodically checking his mirror. He found a parking spot halfway down the street from a restaurant he knew.

“Come on lady, you may not need food, but I need a coffee. It could be a rough day.” Connor took her arm as they headed to the restaurant.

Julie Ann nodded. “I could use another coffee. I’ll be okay today. Everything hasn’t really sunk in yet, except that I know it wasn’t a robbery.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just know.”

“Is there something you’re not telling me?”

“Not at the moment. I have no proof.” She hesitated. “I know my mother and I’m familiar with the area. Nothing makes any sense.”

He was a cop. He went with facts. He wouldn’t understand how some things felt right or wrong. He probably thought she was a little crazy.

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

 

A shard of light seeped through a crack in the curtains and slid across Julie Ann’s face. She absently brushed her hand over her cheek, to get rid of the sensation. It didn’t work. She struggled to open her eyes. She focused on the ceiling. Her mind spun in circles. She didn’t recognize the room. Nothing looked familiar. Where was she? How did she get here?

The sounds of garbage cans smashed against trucks and pavement. Water sloshed against curbs. The sounds permeating the room brought back familiar memories. The water was to clean the streets after last night’s revelry. She was back in New Orleans, in the French Quarter. She didn’t know of anyplace else where they cleaned the streets every morning. 

Reality crushed around her. Her mother was dead. She’d been shot. 

The garbage truck moved ahead, and more cans banged. 

Her mother had occasionally got up early and took Julie Ann for a walk through the streets to get fresh beignets from Café Du Monde. They’d strolled past those street cleaners and jumped over water to avoid getting wet from the hoses spraying the gutters.

Her mother had gripped Julie Ann’s hand tightly and made up stories about what might have happened the night before. The stories included voodoo queens and ghosts who might have walked through the streets. 

The memory caused a severe ache in her chest. She reached for that warm spot she’d found last night. This morning it was cold. She wrapped her arms around herself, holding in the heartache. She’d forgotten about those times. Love for her mother flooded over her. Mom and the French Quarter had provided her with so many wonderful memories. 

She’d buried them when she’d left New Orleans. She’d got caught up in the rush and development of a successful business in the city of New York. She should have come home before this. She’d forgotten how much she’d loved New Orleans, but it was coming back. 

The events of the last two days flooded over her like a tsunami; Mom’s death, the flight to New Orleans, the yellow tape and Deputy Sheriff O’Reilly – Connor. 

She closed her eyes and pulled the covers over her head to block out the bad memories, but the heaviness sitting on her chest didn’t go away. An overwhelming sadness filled her whole body, but she didn’t cry. She’d dried up. 

The person she loved most in her life was gone and she couldn’t even cry for her anymore. Her throat squeezed shut and blocked the tears that pushed against the barricade like water against a dam. The pain was excruciating; even swallowing didn’t relieve the pain. She moved her hand across the sheet again, but no one squeezed back this morning. 

Julie Ann threw the covers back and pushed her feet to the floor. She had to get showered and ready for Deputy… Connor. A ghost of a smile flashed across her lips as she thought about the linebacker-sized policeman with kind, amazing Irish green eyes, who’d carried her to her room and ordered food because she hadn’t eaten. He said he’d pick her up at ten. He looked like the punctual type. 

She started toward the bathroom and stopped. Her smile dissipated. Her stomach clenched. 

In the corner of one of the chairs sat a small voodoo doll, with blonde hair and a small hole with a drop of red surrounding the heart area. 

How had it got there? How had anyone slid into the room? Why did someone leave it for her? 

She hurried to the door. It was locked. So was the window. She reached for the hotel phone and lifted the receiver. She replaced it. Deputy Sheriff Conner would be here soon, probably already on his way. Besides, if someone got into her room, the hotel staff might be involved. 

She hadn’t been hurt – yet. Was the doll a warning? It was obviously meant for her. Did they expect her to run back to New York?

Anger flared and she grabbed the damn doll and slammed it against the wall. A vision flashed before her when she touched the doll. It was a group, not one person. They were blurry. She didn’t recognize anyone. 

She stared down at the doll. She recalled her mother taking her to a small shop. The woman had them join hands. She’d lit a flame, passed their hands over it and recited some kind of spell. Perrine had said something about a vision or passing on a vision. The memory was foggy, and Julie Ann had no idea what her mother meant. 

Was this it? She’d had flashes occasionally but brushed them away. They were usually about her or someone she knew. If she ever mentioned them in New York, people raised their eyebrows and made some comment about seeing a psychiatrist. So, she tried to bury the visions, or at least not mention them. 

Julie Ann picked up the doll and held it. She closed her eyes. Again, there was a flash of a man and behind him several people. They were so blurred it was hard to make out any features, even if they were male or female. The one in front was definitely male. She’d never seen him before. 

The images faded. She only felt emptiness. 

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

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Excerpt

“I see, sort of.” Sara tried to organize her thoughts. “Mostly I saw bits of your childhood. Is there anything I can do to prepare?” 

 

“Read the book.” Nadia strode down the path toward the exit. A few seconds later she swung back to face Sara. “Wear something dressy, but comfortable, and bring another outfit, something you might wear to your defense class.” 

 

This time she disappeared around the corner. Sara stared after her, absently patting Gloria. What had she got herself into? She should have asked more questions. Maybe she could practice tonight, but what would she practice? Nadia had said it wasn’t clerical. 

 

Sara turned the card over. 

Nadia N Nassif
Recruiter
The Foundation 

 

A New York address was in the bottom left hand side of the card and a phone number in the bottom right hand corner. She’d check the address in the phone book when she got home. 

 

“Gloria, come.” Sara signaled with her hand and the dog bounded across the grass and skidded to a sit at Sara’s feet. “Good girl, time to head home.”  

 

Sara pulled the leash tight, “heel.” 

 

She walked down the path Nadia had taken. She replayed their conversation in her head. Why had Nadia been following her?

What did they want from her? Should she even go to their interview? Then again, how often did someone offer to pay for a trip to New York? 

 

Sara checked down the street before she crossed. Gloria jerked on the leash and pulled Sara back. “Gloria, what the…?” 

 

A motorcycle roared by, inches in front of Sara. 

 

“Oh, my gosh.” She’d been so busy thinking, that she hadn’t double checked in both directions before she stepped off the curb. If it hadn’t been for Gloria she’d have walked out right in front of the motorcycle. 

 

Breaks squealed as the Harley slowed to a stop and swung around. The rider pulled in front of Sara and stopped. He removed his helmet. 

 

“Are you okay? I didn’t mean to come that close.” 

 

“No, it’s my fault. I was daydreaming and not watching where I was going.” “You’re okay?” 

 

“I’m fine.” Sara stared into a pair of warm deep brown eyes. Warmth started at her toes and crawled through her body. It heated every part of her. She swallowed hard and tried to drag her eyes away from his square face with the five o’clock shadow. 

 

“Mac Langston.” He pulled off the leather glove on his right hand before he extended it. 

 

Sara put out her fingers and immediately found them engulfed in a strong, warm, hand. She could feel a few calluses on the pads of his palm, the hands of a working man. Another jolt shot through her body. Darkness, flashes of light, loud noises—it was a gunfight of some kind. Was this man part of it or observing it? 

 

That made twice today. After blocking the flashes for years her rusty senses appeared to overcome the blocks quickly. They also took a toll on her energy levels. 

 

“Excuse me, are you all right? Ma’am?” 

 

Sara gave her head a shake. “Sorry. Sara, Sara Peters and I really am fine. Thank you, Mr. Langston.” 

 

“Mac, please, and after a shock like that I insist on seeing you get home safely. Hope on and I’ll give you a ride.” 

 

“I don’t think that will work. My dog doesn’t ride motorcycles and neither do I.” Sara pulled on the leash and started to walk away. 

 

“Right, of course,” Mac slapped his forehead. “Then I’ll have to walk you home.” 

 

“No, don’t be silly.” 

 

Mac pulled on his glove, lifted his leg over the bike and proceeded to walk beside her. He pushed the bike. “Do you live very far?” 

 

Sara shook her head. “No, in the next block.” 

 

“Good, this thing could get a little heavy if we had to go a couple of miles. So what were you thinking about?” 

 

“Pardon me?” 

 

“Instead of paying attention to where you were going?” 

 

“Oh, about a job interview I have coming up.” 

 

“A career change?” 

 

“It’s something like that. This is my house. Thank you, Mr. Langston.” Sara turned into the yard. 

 

“Have dinner with me?” 

 

“Excuse me?” 

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
 
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
 
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

 

 

Buy links:

Excerpt

The office said he’d had a heart attack. Was he alive? Did she want him to be? What if her husband had to stay home for a few weeks to recuperate? Palms sweating, Sara’s breath came in short, shallow bursts at the thought.

The taxi jerked to a stop in front of the hospital emergency entrance.

Sara fumbled through her purse and counted out her meager number of dollar bills. Gordon didn’t allow her to have a credit card and he only allowed her to have a small amount of cash. She didn’t have enough money to pay the taxi.

“I’m so sorry. I left home without any cash. I...I ... Would you take a check?” Tears spilled over and trickled down her flushed cheeks.

The driver spun around. A short stubby finger waved at the sign over the rearview mirror. “Look lady, it says right there - No Checks.”

“I know, I know. I’m sorry. My husband has had a heart attack and I ... I don’t know what to do.” Sara ran her fingers through her hair and scrunched the tight bun at her neck.

The driver shook his head. “Aw, shit. Go ahead, lady. Write the check.”

Sara pulled the single crumpled check Gordon allowed her carry for emergencies out of her purse. When she touched the check a vision of Gordon floated in front of her.

She froze and rapidly blinked her eyes. She only saw the ghosts of dead people. Gordon didn’t believe her and forbid her to ever mention it.

Could he really be dead?

“Gordon?” she whispered.

“Lady, are you writing that check or not?”

“Yes, sorry.” Sara scribbled her signature on the bottom of the check. “Please, fill it in, and give yourself a generous tip. Thank you, thank you so much.” She clutched her worn purse to her chest, slid out of the cab, and scurried through the emergency room doors.

What if he was dead? She didn’t have any money. Gordon did all the finances and never shared anything with her.  How would she manage?

Twenty years ago, she could have handled it. Could she do it again? But he couldn’t be dead. Gordon would never allow that to happen.

His face flitted in front of her, fixed in an angry glare.

He had to be dead or she wouldn’t be seeing him. He didn’t want to be dead. He didn’t want her to be free. If he thought she could see him he’d be furious.

Sara shuffled toward the reception desk. She glanced over her shoulder, searching for some sign of Gordon, listening for his voice, waiting for him to yell at her. She couldn’t believe he was really dead, even though she had seen him. She clung to the edge of the transition counter, her head down, chewed on her lower lip and waited to be noticed.

Finally a brusque voice snapped, “Can I help you?”

Sara looked up to see a heavy set, older woman in a loose blue top. The woman’s thick dark brows met in a v in the middle of her forehead.

“I’m sorry, I ...I’m looking for my husband. His office phoned to say he’d been brought here.” Sara shrunk into her body.

“Name?” the woman commanded.

“Gordon, Gordon Peters.” Sara stared at her worn black oxfords, then at the scuffed, gray linoleum with the red, blue and yellow lines that led to different areas.  Maybe she shouldn’t have come. Maybe she should have waited for Gordon to call and tell her whether she should be here or not. But if he was dead she would have to make her own decisions. Her pulse raced. Her head pounded. For the last nineteen years she had never made a decision. Gordon made all of them for her.

“When was he admitted?” The woman reminded Sara of a sergeant major.

“I’m not sure, less than an hour ago. They told me to meet him here. Maybe he’s been discharged already?” She chewed her thumbnail. If Gordon had been discharged, he’d be furious at her for spending all that money on a taxi.  But she’d seen his ghost.

Tension twisted her stomach into knots. The pain caused her to clutch her purse tightly against her abdomen. She needed to get home and start dinner. She’d have to take a bus. Did she have enough money? She opened her purse.

The woman moved to a second pile of folders and pulled one out. “You’re his wife?”

Sara nodded. “Yes. Can I see him?”

A sob slipped out. If she didn’t find see him soon, he’d be furious. He’d think she was too stupid to even find him in a hospital and he’d be right.

His ghost floated in front of her. This time confusion mixed with his anger

“Have a seat, Mrs. Peters. I’ll have the doctor speak to you.” The sergeant major’s voice softened. She indicated a chair near the desk.

“No, please, I need to see him right away. He’ll be upset if I’m late.”

The woman rounded the desk and laid her hand on Sara’s shoulder. She squeezed gently for a second. “It’ll be okay, honey. You just sit down for a minute. The doctor will be right out.”

 

 

 

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

After and eleven year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and is forced to return to a town she only remembers with unhappiness, a man to whom she was briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.

 

Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since he first met her. They were married but a few weeks later she ran away, without an explanation. He still hasn’t figured out why. Now she’s coming back. Does she still love him? Can he rekindle the romance and also prevent her from being killed.

 

Janna doesn’t want Kye’s help in anyway, yet he always seems to be there when she’s in trouble. Can they work together to find a killer, save the Native burial ground and home of the spirits, and find romance again?

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Excerpt

Kye filled the doorway, standing there looking regal and completely self confident. Tall and good looking, eyes that could always see right through her and that shy smile she’d felt was reserved mostly for her. She’d fallen in love with him soon after they’d met. She’d been about five at the time. He was smart, and there was something about him, an unfathomable depth, like he’d been here for many centuries. She remembered thinking at the time, I’m going to marry him when I grow up.

She felt that same pull, even after all these years.

No, I’m not going back there. Yes, I’d married him, like I’d said, but it hadn’t worked the first time. No way would she open herself to that pain again.

“Is there anyone else living here?” Janna asked.

“No. Why would you ask that?”

“For one thing, the house isn’t covered in dust and cobwebs. For another, I thought I saw a shadow heading upstairs.”

“You saw someone upstairs?”

“It was probably my imagination.”

“We don’t want to take any chances. I’ll check upstairs.”

“No, its okay. I can do it later.”

“I’m checking it now.” Kye strode by her, brushing her arm as he past. He climbed the stairs two at a time.

At his touch, the electric current sent synapses through her body, which responded, but her mind said ‘same old Kye, always taking charge.’

She headed toward the kitchen and found a kettle. By the time he came back down, she had her emotions under control and bit her tongue to refrain from commenting on taking orders from him.

“There’s no one up there, and no sign of anyone. There was an open window upstairs. I don’t remember leaving it open when I was here. Anyway, I closed it and locked it.”

“Thanks for checking. I appreciate it.”

“No problem. As for the house, Duke’s been gone for several weeks. The place was tossed when he was killed. No one’s been out here since. When I heard you were coming back, I came out and straightened up a bit. I didn’t want you to see what a mess they’d left.”

“Who left the mess?”

“They said it was an intruder, the one who shot Duke.”

“But you don’t believe it?”

“I think someone killed Duke and then tossed the place looking for something, probably his Will.”

“You think someone killed him because of the ranch?”

Kye nodded.

Janna met his eyes and saw real concern there. He knew how she would have felt if she’d walked into the mess. She wondered where Duke’s body had been found.

“Here, in the kitchen, by the stove. He was shot three times in the chest.”

It was like he’d read her mind.

 

Hawkins Ranch Series: Book 1

 

 

Hawkins Ranch Series: Book 2

 

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

After and eleven year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and is forced to return to a town she only remembers with unhappiness, a man to whom she was briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.

 

Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since he first met her. They were married but a few weeks later she ran away, without an explanation. He still hasn’t figured out why. Now she’s coming back. Does she still love him? Can he rekindle the romance and also prevent her from being killed.

 

Janna doesn’t want Kye’s help in anyway, yet he always seems to be there when she’s in trouble. Can they work together to find a killer, save the Native burial ground and home of the spirits, and find romance again?

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Excerpt

Deep breath, Janna.

Splintered glass spread in a two foot semi-circle on the plush, cream colored, wool carpet. Janna jerked to a stop so she didn’t get splinters in her bare feet.

“You might want to put on some shoes, ma’am.” Delaney glanced at her feet, then pulled a small camera from his pocket and started to snap pictures of the area.

Janna nodded and found a pair of old runners under her couch. She slid them on but didn’t bother with the laces.

“Then I’m guessing he headed toward my bedroom. I heard a thud. I think he hit the coffee table.” Janna jerked at the hem of her nightshirt and indicated the large oak table in front of her brown, leather couch.

Delaney nodded and he snapped a few pictures of the solid oak and glass coffee table with the replica of the statue of David in the center. “We can get forensics to check and see if maybe he left any DNA when he hit it. They should be here shortly. You keep saying he, do you know who it might have been?”

“I have no idea. I just use ‘he’ because I don’t think of a woman doing this.”

A smile slipped across Delaney’s craggy face. “Oh, they do it all right.”

Janna moved through her open bedroom door. “He turned the knob and opened this door. He took a couple of shots in the direction of the bed and then left. At least it sounded like a gun with a silencer, and there were a couple of small flashes.”

“A silencer or suppressor can make the shot a lot quieter, but you will still hear it.”

Delaney said.

When she flipped on the light, Janna looked at the queen-sized bed with the mauve, shamrock green, and white floral duvet thrown back to reveal the matching and expensive mauve cotton sheets and pillow cases. This lovely set brought her pleasure each time she saw it—but not tonight.

There were two holes. One was in the mauve covered pillow. The second went through the blanket and sheet she’d pushed together when she slid out of bed. They were bunched together and could have been the outline of a body. The shot could have been about her heart level.

The enormity of the situation punched her in the stomach. A wall of nausea crashed over her. She reached for the wall to steady herself. Her gaze focused on the bed, unable to look away.

“Ohmigawd,” her chest felt like a hundred pound weight was sitting on it. Janna struggled to take a breath.

“You might want to sit down.” Delaney touched her shoulder and motioned her back to the living room.

Nodding, Janna moved robot-like to the couch, still in her nightshirt.

Someone tried to kill me. They really tried to kill me. If I hadn’t woken up, there would have been one shot in my head and another in my heart. I would be dead, not trying to figure out who fired the shots.

When she flopped down, the butter soft leather felt cool against the back of her thighs. She pulled her legs up under her and tucked in the hem of her nightshirt. She rocked back and forth. She could be dead right now. Her life could be over at twenty-nine.

He hadn’t broken in to steal anything. He’d broken in to kill her. If she hadn’t heard him and hidden behind the door…

Why? Why would someone want to kill me?

 

Hawkins Ranch Series: Book 1

 

 

Hawkins Ranch Series: Book 2

 

Missing by Beverley Bateman

Running from a disastrous engagement, and an over-powering father, Dr. Allie Parsons agrees to help out an old friend and travels to Duster, Montana. She’s agreed to help the local doctor for a brief period of time until he can find a permanent new doctor. Raised her whole life in New York city, Allie is greeted with culture shock when she finds out how small Duster is, but she also finds a warm, friendly community. And the doctor turns out to be young, tall, dark and handsome. He sends her emotions shooting sky high. She’s welcomed into the Hawkins family and develops a relationship with his daughter. A mysterious stranger leaves notes at the clinic and Allie fears they are a warning he’s going to kidnap the doctor’s daughter.

 

Luke Hawkins, one of the Hawkins’ brothers is looking for a doctor to take over half the practice from the retiring doctor. He’s not expecting his temporary replacement to be a young, sexy, single woman from New York. He knows she’s the woman he’s been searching for all his life, but he also knows she won’t stay in Duster. He doesn’t believe the notes are meant for him until his daughter is kidnapped. Now he has to save his daughter and convince the woman he loves that she really is a small town doctor at heart.

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Excerpt

Allie closed the door, made a note on the front of the chart and popped the file into the slot on the wall before she walked back to the front desk.
 
She picked up the next chart. “Mr. Almeara?”
 
“Yah.” A man, probably in his late seventies, stood up and limped forward. He might have been over six feet in his younger days, but now, with a stooped back, he looked about five feet eight or nine inches. He had a fuzzy gray fringe with a receding hairline and a long gray beard.
 
She saw a definite twinkle in his brown eyes.
 
“Follow me, please.” Allie led the way down the corridor.
 
“Yah, I follow you anywhere, you sweet thing.”
 
“Ouch.” She jumped, turning around to stare at the man who had just pinched her backside.
 
Winking, he nodded. “You got a nice patootie there. You got a fellar that appreciates it?”
 
The initial anger dissipated. A smile crawled up from the inside. She tried to look forbidding. “Mr. Almeara, please don’t do that again.”
 
“Ahhh, you could make an old man very unhappy if he couldn’t appreciate a good lookin’ woman.”
 
“You may look, but, please, don’t touch.” Allie tried to hide the laughter busting to get out. She opened the next door and stepped to one side so he couldn’t touch her as he went past.
 
“In here, please. What are you seeing the doctor about today?”
 
“I...I got problems with the water works.”
 
“I see. That’s common with men in your age bracket. The doctor will talk to you about it. Don’t worry.”
 
“Really, are you sure?”
 
“Not for sure. The doctor will have to run a few tests first to find out what the problem is. Have a seat. He should be right in.”
 
Her lips still tugged at the corners as Allie closed the door behind her.
 
Dr. Hawkins entered the hall. “Are you smiling at a private joke?”
 
“Sort of,” she had no intention of sharing that pinch with him. He might think she couldn’t handle the patients if this sort of thing happened in the first few hours after she started work. She had no idea of his ideas on harassment. Besides, she found it more funny than upsetting.
 
“Your next patient’s ready.”
 
“Thanks. You’re doing a great job. I really appreciate you doing this.”
 
She nodded and went back to reception to pull the next patient file and answer the ringing phone. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a compliment on her work. And this one was for her work as a receptionist.
 
Every time she passed him in the corridor, his closeness, his masculine musky scent and those hypnotizing eyes had a startling affect on her.
 
Duster didn’t appear to be so depressing any longer. However, he could make working together a challenge.
 
They needed to keep things strictly professional. He might be sexy, but she had no desire to get involved with any man right now.
 
Why would he have chosen to practice medicine in this godforsaken place?