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Tall, Dark and Texan Annette Broadrick An untameable bachelor meets his match in this classic reader favorite story from USA TODAY bestselling author Annette Broadrick.After a shocking betrayal, Dan Crenshaw left behind his corporate empire to live alone—forever. Then his Texas seclusion was shattered by Shannon Doyle, his kid sister's friend. The vulnerable beauty infiltrated his lone existence with her home-cooked meals and wifelike concern. But Dan would never convert to family man. And though he dreamed of taking Shannon to the depths of passion and back again, his fierce honor wouldn't allow him to take her innocence…unless he slipped a ring on her finger… An untameable bachelor meets his match in this classic reader favorite story from USA TODAY bestselling author Annette Broadrick. After a shocking betrayal, Dan Crenshaw left behind his corporate empire to live alone—forever. Then his Texas seclusion was shattered by Shannon Doyle, his kid sister’s friend. The vulnerable beauty infiltrated his lone existence with her home-cooked meals and wifelike concern. But Dan would never convert to family man. And though he dreamed of taking Shannon to the depths of passion and back again, his fierce honor wouldn’t allow him to take her innocence...unless he slipped a ring on her finger.... Silhouette Books is proud to present Annette Broadrick’s Tall, Dark & Texan Since 1984, fans worldwide have savored beloved romance author Annette Broadrick’s enormous talent for writing emotional, entertaining love stories. Her uplifting novels convey the promise that in every woman’s life there is the possibility of everlasting love. PRAISE FOR ANNETTE BROADRICK “Annette Broadrick’s glorious love stories always sparkle with irresistible joy and grace.” —Melinda Helfer, Romantic Times Magazine “Annette Broadrick’s one terrific writer!” —Award-winning author Diana Palmer Dear Reader (#u89f8524f-8d0f-583d-9d3f-00111628b4a4), Welcome in the millennium, and the 20 anniversary of Silhouette, with Silhouette Desire—where you’re guaranteed powerful, passionate and provocative love stories that feature rugged heroes and spirited heroines who experience the full emotional intensity of falling in love! We are happy to announce that the ever-fabulous Annette Broadrick will give us the first MAN OF THE MONTH of the 21 century, Tall, Dark & Texan. A highly successful Texas tycoon opens his heart and home to a young woman who’s holding a secret. Lindsay McKenna makes a dazzling return to Desire with The Untamed Hunter, part of her highly successful MORGAN’S MERCENARIES: THE HUNTERS miniseries. Watch sparks fly when a hard-bitten mercenary is reunited with a spirited doctor—the one woman who got away. A Texan Comes Courting features another of THE KEEPERS OF TEXAS from Lass Small’s miniseries. A cowboy discovers the woman of his dreams—and a shocking revelation. Alexandra Sellers proves a virginal heroine can bring a Casanova to his knees in Occupation: Casanova. Desire’s themed series THE BRIDAL BID debuts with Amy J. Fetzer’s Going…Going…Wed! And in Conveniently His, Shirley Rogers presents best friends turned lovers in a marriage-of-convenience story. Each and every month, Silhouette Desire offers you six exhilarating journeys into the seductive world of romance. So start off the new millennium right, by making a commitment to sensual love and treating yourself to all six! Enjoy! Joan Marlow Golan Senior Editor, Silhouette Desire Tall, Dark & Texan Annette Broadrick www.millsandboon.co.uk (http://www.millsandboon.co.uk) To Pam Firle Who’s not only a terrific neighbor, but a great friend. Thank you for being there for me. Contents Cover (#u2388f59f-1601-59e2-9f8a-631f508f6aff) Back Cover Text (#uedbf9507-1c87-5e30-b808-814683a11d8f) Dear Reader (#u04e9ea6d-a8df-5fe9-a5df-bc02ba966ed4) Title Page (#u3cdc73df-101a-50b4-a607-f36b28d6515c) Dedication (#u4673e3e1-8887-554b-b45c-b4cf56cc7240) Contents (#u89f8524f-8d0f-583d-9d3f-00111628b4a4) One (#u4ecaeae7-229e-58a8-93dd-cd98c33b233e) Two (#uf6a7a922-4c7b-5ad4-90b2-861e4c819733) Three (#u24aeb9a2-fa06-5b8c-a74b-06d3586b6904) Four (#u2b3f29a1-2c85-5b43-adf1-c0a067eb9a0a) Five (#u2c47f15b-fd17-51d5-938b-50106a5cd067) Six (#litres_trial_promo) Seven (#litres_trial_promo) Eight (#litres_trial_promo) Nine (#litres_trial_promo) Ten (#litres_trial_promo) Eleven (#litres_trial_promo) Twelve (#litres_trial_promo) Thirteen (#litres_trial_promo) Fourteen (#litres_trial_promo) Fifteen (#litres_trial_promo) Sixteen (#litres_trial_promo) Seventeen (#litres_trial_promo) Epilogue (#litres_trial_promo) Extract (#litres_trial_promo) Copyright (#litres_trial_promo) One (#ulink_8c20e9fe-c150-58d4-b34c-04e6af607100) Dan Crenshaw noticed her as soon as she stepped inside the smoke-filled bar. He wasn’t the only one. Provocatively dressed in a bright, tropical print strapless dress with her black hair tumbling around her shoulders and down her back, the woman stuck out like an exotic flower in a patch of weeds. Although small, there was nothing childlike about her. The dress molded her softly rounded body in a seductive manner that would have any red-blooded male baying at the moon. Her appearance in the small bar screamed trouble waiting to happen, the last thing Dan wanted. The seedy bar had passed its prime a good forty years ago. Situated in an old building overlooking the bay, its weathered exterior and faded sign didn’t lure many first-time visitors to the island to pass through its portals. He had a hunch that whoever she was, she wasn’t one of the locals. Loud music from a local radio station spewed out songs long past their prime, effectively muffling all but the loudest of the conversation at the bar. The place was crowded for a weeknight. Barstools filled with regulars swapping tales of the day crowded around the bar at one end of the room. After everyone looked her over, conversation resumed. Dan had claimed the back table at the other end of the room for his own since he’d arrived on South Padre Island. He liked coming here because everybody left him alone. Just the way he wanted it. One morning a few weeks ago, he’d suddenly walked away from his ranch in the Hill Country and his computer business in Austin, as well as his belief in himself, and had headed south. The island was as far south as he could go and stay in Texas and the United States. Now he sat hunched over his drink, wondering why a woman who looked like that would visit this place. He kept expecting her to discover her mistake and leave. Instead, she leisurely looked around before sauntering toward the group of tables arranged at his end of the room. The bar area glowed with colored neon lights advertising different brands of beer, leaving the rest of the room in shadows. Hurricane lamps with small candles inside them sat on each of the eight tables, forming small islands of light. She sat down two tables away from him and placed her purse on the chair beside her. Dan had an excellent view of her profile—a high forehead, patrician nose, pouting mouth, softly rounded chin and long, slender neck. Laramie, the bartender, tripped all over himself in an effort to get to her and take her order. Dan couldn’t hear her voice because of the loud music and conversation, but he expected to see poor ol’ Laramie start salivating as he leaned closer to hear her drink preference. Dan finished his Scotch and lifted his glass to Laramie, signaling the bartender to bring him another one. He studied the ice cubes, wondering if a person could read his fortune in ice as well as tea leaves. It would probably be a lot tougher. He’d have to be quick or all the esoteric signs would melt. When he glanced up again he discovered the woman’s gaze fixed on him. In the smoky, dimly lit room her eyes shone like black jet, the light from the candle reflected in their ebony depths. He lifted his empty glass and sketched a toast in the air. She eyed him for a moment without changing expression, then looked toward the bar, where Laramie could be seen rushing back to them with a full glass clutched in each hand. Dan picked up his fresh drink and took a careful sip. He wasn’t in the least surprised to be snubbed by the young woman. He probably looked like some pirate who’d recently been found washed up on the beach. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully, unable to remember the last time he’d shaved, or run a comb through his shaggy, dark hair. None of his employees would recognize him, now. Hell, probably his own sister wouldn’t recognize him. Mandy. Damn. He’d been working hard to put her out of his mind. She’d really ticked him off earlier in the evening, giving him hell over the phone for refusing to return home. She didn’t understand how seductive life on the island could be. He slept when he wanted, ate when he wanted, drank when he wanted. This was the first time in years he’d stayed at the condo. He’d picked it up for a song several years ago when the Mexican market had taken a nosedive, causing the economy along the border between south Texas and Mexico to suffer. His condo was in the tallest building on the island with a commanding view of both the Gulf of Mexico and the bay that separated the island from Port Isabel. No, he had absolutely no desire to leave the island. As far as he was concerned, he’d found his new home. He mentally toasted the thought and took a long drink from his new order. * * * Well, I found him. Now what? Shannon Doyle took a careful sip of her house wine and controlled her reaction. She had a hunch that this particular bar had few requests for wine. Just a hunch. Okay. She’d been rehearsing for this meeting for the past three days. Lights! Camera! Action! Only she couldn’t seem to remember her lines. Shannon fought the urge to tug on the bodice of her dress. When she’d found it that afternoon in one of the island boutiques, she’d whimsically thought it would be just the thing for getting Dan’s attention. She hadn’t really given enough thought to the amount of attention she was drawing from everyone else in the place. All right. Let’s face it. I’m not the femme fatale type. Quite the opposite. Shannon had spent most of her life with her head buried in a book, or glued to a computer screen. She’d never been interested in dressing to attract the attention of the opposite sex. Good thing, because none of them had ever noticed her, unless they’d needed help with homework when she was in school. Or later—she didn’t want to think about later. She had to chalk up her recent experience with Rick Taylor to her lack of knowledge and understanding of the male animal. Any male animal. Except for her two brothers, she hadn’t been around all that many. Even her cat was female. When she’d first planned this, she figured that she’d have to do something startling to get Dan to even notice her. Hence, the new dress. Well, he’d looked at her, all right. His gaze had caused her pulse to accelerate at least twenty points. But he hadn’t recognized her. Not that she would expect him to, of course. That was the point of this exercise, after all. Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, Shannon had decided to create a whole new identity for herself. Maybe she hadn’t made a great first choice in men by diving into the dating game with Rick those few months, but after talking to Mandy McClain last week, Shannon had decided that she wouldn’t let her disappointment send her running back to her solitary life-style. She intended to follow her heart. Instead of fantasies, she had decided to turn her adolescent dreams into reality. Dan Crenshaw had been the lover in her dreams since she was thirteen. He’d been a senior in high school then. A football star. Popular and smart and good-looking. She’d still been struggling with what her mother kindly referred to as baby fat. Baby fat? At thirteen? Well, whatever it was, she’d looked like an aspiring hippo, lumbering along with her friends. The glasses hadn’t helped—their thick lenses giving her an owl-like appearance. Of course she hadn’t looked like that in years. By the time she’d gone to college she’d slimmed down and gotten used to contact lenses, but those early years left a definite mark on a person’s psyche. There were times when it didn’t matter what she saw in the mirror. She felt overweight and ugly. The dress was supposed to give her self-confidence. Instead, she was afraid its brash exposure might end up giving her hives. She heard the scrape of a chair and casually glanced around. Dan was getting up! Oh, no. Not yet. She hadn’t made her move yet. Then she noticed that he wasn’t headed toward the door. Instead, he ambled over to the bar and spoke to the bartender, who glanced her way and laughed, then proceeded down the hallway toward the rest rooms. Shannon released the air she’d been hoarding in her lungs with a thankful sigh. She still had time to approach him. It was a wonder she’d had any air left once she’d gotten a good look at him. She didn’t know what he’d looked like before coming here, but the island had certainly burnished him with a sexy bronze finish. He wore a sleeveless T-shirt with something written on it and a pair of cutoff jeans that lovingly clung to his taut derriere and showed off strong, muscular thighs. He barely met the minimum dress code by wearing flip-flops for shoes. Not the usual attire for the head of most companies. She had to agree with Mandy. Something needed to be done. Shannon was determined not to flunk out on her newest mission—saving Dan Crenshaw from himself. * * * When Dan returned from the rest room, Laramie had another drink waiting for him at the bar. He snagged the glass between his thumb and middle finger before strolling back to his chair. The woman was still sipping on her first drink. Wine. That figured. He sat down and leaned the chair back on two legs, resting against the wall. He was in a particularly foul mood tonight and all because he’d made the mistake of picking up the damned phone when it rang earlier. “What!” he’d yelled into the receiver after listening to the phone ring off and on most of the afternoon. “Is that any way to answer a phone?” Mandy asked. “What do you want?” “You don’t have to be rude.” “And you don’t have to spend every waking moment of every stinking day calling to make sure I haven’t thrown myself off the balcony.” There was a silence. Finally, Mandy said, “That’s not funny, Dan...and it just so happens that I haven’t called you in three days.” “No kidding. Hell, you’ve set a new record. I’ll send you a medal.” The silence was longer this time. Much longer. Finally, he heard a sigh. “We need to talk,” Mandy said. “We are talking.” “About DSC.” “I told you. I don’t want to talk about the company.” “Oh, you’ve made yourself quite clear about that, big brother. It was so easy for you to shrug your shoulders, walk away and say, ‘I quit.’ But the world continues on, Dan, even if you decided to step off. You still have contracts to fill, quotas to meet, and there’s no one capable of running the place with both you and James gone. You hired Rafe as head of security. He doesn’t know a blasted thing about running your stupid company for you.” “Nobody asked him to.” “Well, somebody has to! A national employment agency has been calling with resumes. They said you’d contacted them and now they want to make appointments for applicants. Nobody knows what to tell them. Rafe isn’t qualified to interview people. Forget the fact that the business is losing potential sales because you aren’t there, but someone needs to be in the plant making certain that the contracts already signed are being met. If they aren’t, you’re going to find yourself inundated with lawsuits. For some reason I can’t see you enjoying being back in court again.” “Low blow, Mandy.” “Everything is a low blow to you these days, Dan, and I, for one, am getting sick and tired of tiptoeing around you. Rafe will never tell you this, but somebody needs to. You’ve got to stop thinking about your pain and your agony and your loss and start thinking about somebody else for a change. Do you have any idea the hours that Rafe is putting into that company, trying to save your butt? I hardly see him anymore. He rarely gets home before eleven and he’s gone by seven every morning. That’s no way for anyone to live. I know James hurt you—” “Hurt me? Hell, Mandy, this isn’t about my hurt feelings. He did his damnedest to pin everything he’d done on me! If it hadn’t been for Rafe finding the evidence to prove his involvement rather than mine, it would be me sitting in the pen these days and not James.” “Exactly my point! Yes, James was your friend. And, yes, he betrayed you. Cost you money. Almost bankrupted the company. But he wasn’t your only friend. Rafe’s been there for you every step of the way. And you don’t seem to care that we’ve all done everything we could think of to make this easier for you. Someone has to deal with the life you decided to toss aside. None of this is just going to fix itself without you.” “Why didn’t Rafe call me and tell me this?” “When would he have the time?” Dan couldn’t think of a really smart retort to that one. He knew what kind of hours the company demanded. He’d been keeping them for years. And he’d had help back then—from his old college buddy...partner...friend—James Williams. Good ol’ James. The lousy, stinking, lying thief. He didn’t want the reminders. He didn’t want to be having this conversation. “I’ll talk to Rafe,” he finally muttered. “When?” “Soon.” “How soon?” “Damn it, Mandy, quit pushing. I said I’d talk to him. Now back off.” “Sometimes you can be such a jerk, Dan.” “I love you, too. Give Angie a hug and a kiss from her Uncle Dan.” “Do it yourself!” she said, slamming down the phone. He focused on the noisy conversation and music around him, trying to erase the confrontation with Mandy. He couldn’t remember her ever being that angry with him before, not even when they were growing up together on the ranch. He lifted his drink to his mouth, trying to wash away the memory. The problem was that he knew Mandy was right. He was being a jerk. Rafe had come through for him once again. He wondered if his friend—and now his brother-in-law—ever got tired of coming to his rescue. The scrape of a chair against the cement floor drew his attention and he glanced up from his serious contemplation of his drink. The woman in the sexy sarong stood there at his table, looking down at him. When he finally focused on her face, she gave him a very seductive smile. “You shouldn’t be sitting here all alone, you know,” she said in a husky voice. Without waiting for him to respond, she sat across from him and took a slow sip of her drink, her gaze focused on him. His chair fell back onto all four legs with a resounding thud, jarring him. He caught a hint of a floral scent that could almost be part of the tropical flowers on her clinging dress. Dan blinked, wondering if he’d fallen asleep without knowing it. Up close he could see that her skin almost shimmered with the lustrous glow of a fine porcelain figurine. All right, he must really be dreaming. Granted he hadn’t been involved with a woman for a while. Maybe the booze had helped his fantasy woman appear to him in living color and fully dimensional. He placed his hands on the table, cupping his drink protectively, and smiled at her. She looked startled for a split second before she took another sip from her wine glass, then ran her tongue over her bottom lip in an unconscious gesture that caused his attention to focus on that full, pouty protrusion. “I’ve never seen you in here before,” he finally said, then almost groaned at the banality of the statement. Yes, he was definitely rusty at this. She leaned toward him, then lifted her hand and laid it against his cheek. He flinched and jerked back from her touch. “Did you run out of razor blades?” she murmured. He nodded toward the bar. “You’ll find all the clean shaves you want at the bar, if that’s what you prefer.” If possible, her voice dropped to a huskier level. “Why would I do that, Danny, when you’re the one I came so far to find.” All right, so he’d had too much to drink. That was the only explanation he could come up with to account for a beautiful stranger’s apparent interest in him. He had to be imagining this whole thing. But how did this woman know his name? Peering at her through narrowed eyes, he asked, “Who the hell are you?” She sat back in her chair and gave him a smile that would tempt a saint. “Why Danny, don’t you recognize me? I am your worst nightmare.” Two (#ulink_c9d480bc-3642-5df3-b511-6fc1b554616e) “Oh, I don’t think so,” he replied, vaguely aware that his body was already responding to her. She studied him in silence for a couple of moments, then as though speaking to herself, she said, “I think we need to get you home.” She stood and took his hand. Giving a slight tug, she smiled and said, “Let’s go.” Conversation at the bar lessened. Dan glanced over and saw that most of the gathering was looking his way. Well, why not? He had this gorgeous woman coaxing him to take her home. He still was a little unsure how he’d lucked out, but he wasn’t going to question his good fortune. He slowly stood, a lopsided smile on his face. “Whatever you say, honey,” he said. “My name is Shannon. Think you can remember that?” She wrapped her arm around his waist and steered him to the door. He laughed. Damn. He must be doing something right. He pushed the door open and stepped outside. A nice breeze caressed the island, coming off the Gulf. Dan took a deep breath, enjoying the fresh air after the closeness of the bar. A quarter moon hung in midsky, shedding enough light for him to see the surrounding area. “Great time of the year to be here, isn’t it?” he asked, expansively. She stepped away and watched him as though expecting him to fall over on his face. He took her hand. “I had no idea October would be the perfect time to come to the island. Few tourists, great weather. What more can ya ask?” “It’s November,” she replied, leading him toward a small sports car. She opened the passenger door and nodded. “Get in. I’ll drive you home.” He nodded wisely and followed her directions. “Good idea. It’s a long walk back. Normally I enjoy the walk, but you seem to be in a hurry tonight.” He leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes. Shannon walked around the car and slid into the driver’s seat. She looked over at him and shook her head. Oh, Dan, what are you doing to yourself? Now that she was here, she could see why Mandy was so concerned. Thank goodness she was ready for a little vacation of her own. Dan was right about this time of the year. Seasonal rains hadn’t started and it was too early for the winter tourists. Mandy had told her where the condo was located. She stopped at the gate. “Dan? What’s the security code?” She waited. “Dan?” “Hmph?” “The security code.” “Oh.” He rattled off the numbers. She prayed he’d remembered the right ones. The gate swung open as soon as she punched them in. So far, so good. She drove to the parking lot, pulled in and parked, then turned to him again. “Okay, big guy. You’ve got to help me here.” Dan opened his eyes and sat up, looking around him. “Damn, I keep falling asleep. Or maybe I keep waking up.” He looked at her, his smile growing. “Oh yeah. You are definitely a part of my dream.” She tried not to roll her eyes. She got out of the car and came around to his side. He’d managed to get out on his own. He grasped her hand and practically dragged her over to the building’s entrance. A security guard recognized him and opened the door. “Evening, Mr. Crenshaw,” the man said. “Yep,” Dan replied without pausing. He marched over to the elevators, punched the button and the door immediately opened. With innate courtesy he waved her inside, then stepped in behind her. “What floor?” she asked. “Top one.” “Mmm. Must have a great view.” “Good enough.” Neither spoke until the doors opened and he stepped out ahead of her, fumbling in the pocket of those tight cutoff jeans for the key. Once he opened the door, he made a graceful sweep of his hand. “Welcome to my humble abode.” Humble was a definite misnomer. The place was alight in mirrors, glass and chrome. A sweeping expanse of Berber carpet flowed to walls of glass. She could see a long balcony that wrapped around the outside of the condo. “Would you like a drink?” he asked. She turned and saw that he stood behind a wet bar, holding up a bottle. She smiled, amused despite the circumstances. “Uh, no, thanks. Maybe later.” He flashed that charming smile at her once again, the one that had always made her knees wobble. “Would you like to see the rest of the place?” She clasped her hands at her waist and nodded. “Please.” He gave her a whirlwind tour of the dining room and kitchen, which was filled with every appliance needed to turn an average cook into a prize chef. She idly peeked into the pantry and the refrigerator. They were empty. There were three bedrooms, each with its own complete bath. Well, that would make things a little simpler, she decided, following him into the master bedroom. Ah, the view from here was spectacular. He could lie in bed and watch the moon as it arced across the sky. Dan closed the vertical blinds and turned back to her. “What did you say your name is?” “Shannon.” “That’s a pretty name.” “Thank you.” “How did you know my name?” “Well, that really wasn’t difficult, since I’ve known you for most of my life.” She walked over to the rumpled bed, straightened the covers before turning them back. “Why don’t you get some rest? We’ll talk in the morning.” He stalked toward her and said, “I don’t think either one of us will be getting much rest, do you?” He wrapped his arms around her and found her lips with his. She hadn’t expected him to grab her like that. She struggled, trying to place her hands on his chest. Somewhere along the way the kiss changed, became more seeking, less demanding, and she found herself relaxing in his arms. This was Dan, after all. He would never take advantage of her. Besides, wasn’t this exactly the fantasy she’d lived with for years? However, he didn’t need to know that, and she sure wasn’t going to let him think that he’d successfully seduced her. With a quick twist away from him she stepped back, trying to catch her breath and maintain her composure, as well. There was no reason for him to know that she didn’t have much experience in the seduction department. Her sudden evasion caused him to lose his balance. Luckily he fell forward and ended up facedown on the bed. He didn’t move. She ventured closer. He was sprawled across the bed, his head on the far pillow, his body angled so one foot dangled over the side. He’d lost his flip-flops. She studied him for a moment, then decided to leave him there. She draped a light blanket across him and left the room, quietly closing the door behind her. Shannon spotted the phone in the living room. This was as good a time as any to contact Mandy. She took the cordless phone out onto the balcony and sank into one of the comfortably padded chairs. She punched in the numbers from memory, then listened to the phone ring at the other end of the line. As soon as Mandy answered, Shannon said, “Hi, this is Shannon. Mission accomplished. I found Dan this evening.” The relieved sigh from the other end winged its way to her ear. “Thank God. How is he?” Shannon smiled to herself. “He could best be summed up as having gone native. He might not have gone as far as the South Seas, but he looks like your typical beachcomber.” “Has he lost weight?” “Now that, I couldn’t tell you. Remember, I haven’t seen him in several years. I must say, he looks healthy enough to me.” “I’ve been so worried. I managed to get in touch with him earlier today and we had a horrible fight.” “Well, he didn’t give me any trouble. I found him at a local hangout and suggested we come back to his place.” “Oh, good. Did he recognize you?” “Are you kidding? He hasn’t a clue who I am or why I’m here. I have a hunch he won’t be nearly so happy to see me come morning.” Mandy sighed once more. “I really don’t know what to do anymore, Shannon. And Rafe’s no help. He says everyone at the plant is very understanding of the situation. Thank goodness there are good shift managers who can oversee what needs to be done without supervision.” “I can understand your concern. After all, I have a couple of big brothers, too. If either of them went off the deep end like this, I’d be worried sick as well.” “I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate your volunteering to look after him for me.” Shannon laughed. “I have a hunch the job’s going to get much tougher when morning rolls around. But I can handle him. As I said, I’m used to dealing with my brothers.” “I hope you’ll be able to enjoy the island, as well.” “Oh, I certainly intend to do that. I haven’t been down here in more than five years. I have some serious sunbathing to do.” “I’m sure once Dan gets his act together, he’ll thank you for what you’re doing for him.” “I won’t hold my breath. Besides, I’m still hoping to fill one of the positions currently being offered at his company. So if he’s feeling all that appreciative, he can hire me.” “Ah,” Mandy replied with a chuckle. “Your ulterior motive reveals itself.” “Absolutely. Of course he may never want to lay eyes on me again after this little jaunt, but that doesn’t matter. I was unemployed when I offered to do this. He can’t fire me since he hasn’t hired me.” “He’ll be furious when he finds out I sent you down there.” “Oh, he won’t hear it from me. I’ll keep in touch. Take care. I’ll talk to you soon.” Shannon hung up, found the key to the apartment and went back downstairs to her car, where she got her luggage out of the trunk. The security man helped her with it, made certain she managed to get the pieces inside the elevator and waved her off. All the way up the elevator she couldn’t help but wonder what the guy must be thinking, since Dan hadn’t come back down to help her. Maybe she’d introduce herself as his sister. Not that it mattered what he thought. Unless, of course, Dan wanted to protect his own reputation. Back in the condo, she chose one of the guest bedrooms and unpacked before showering and getting ready for bed. First thing tomorrow she’d go to the grocery store. Well, maybe not first thing. Her favorite occupation whenever she was on the island was to get up at daylight and walk to the jetties to watch the sunrise. She had a hunch Dan wouldn’t be stirring that early. After that, however, she would be off and running, doing what she could to make Dan’s life on the island a living hell. What, after all, were real friends for? Three (#ulink_023ec852-ea8d-58a7-94aa-bef0cb8e2ff9) Ah, yes, this was the part of life on the island she had missed, Shannon thought the next morning as she strolled along the beach. A few early risers were also out—some jogging, others looking for shells. She took in a slow, deep breath of air, reveling in the fresh scent of the sea. Shannon had spent the past three years working in St. Louis, spending her winter vacations on the Colorado ski slopes. She’d missed the sensuous pleasure of walking barefoot over a damp, hard-packed, sandy beach. While on her shopping spree yesterday she’d indulged herself by purchasing a two-piece swimsuit with matching cover-up. Before leaving the apartment this morning, she’d taken the time to braid her hair into a single plait. The mirror had revealed that she was much too pale. She had every intention of soaking up some sun later today after she ran her errands. In the meantime, she was content to pick up unusual shells and slip them in her pockets. By the time she reached the jetties, she had a nice collection. She climbed up on the granite boulders so that she could see the channel that led to the seaport farther inland. There were large birds—she recognized pelicans and egrets, but others she wasn’t so sure about—fishing along the edges. There were also human fishermen with their rods and reels casting off of either side of the granite ledge. Shannon walked out a short distance and found a spot where she could sit and watch as the sun burst fully into view. She gave herself up to the moment. Eventually, the time came when she knew she had to get started with her day. With a great deal of reluctance, and a mental promise to return in time for sunset, Shannon focused on her reason for being on the island—Dan Crenshaw. She listened for him when she let herself into the apartment, but heard nothing. The door to his room was closed. She peeked inside the darkened interior and saw him still asleep. So. First things first. She quickly made up a grocery list and left for the store. After buying basic essentials and enough food for a few simple meals, she returned. Still no sign of his stirring. Shannon made coffee, began frying bacon, and mixed up an herbal concoction for Dan. She had a hunch he might have a bit of a headache this morning. The sun was now up in all its glory, flooding the large living room with light. She tapped softly on his door but when he didn’t answer she opened the door and stepped inside. Dan now lay on his back, his arms thrown wide. He looked very good to her from what she could see in the dim light. She sat the steaming cup beside the bed and walked over to the blinds. She got an immediate response as soon as she pulled the shades open. “Wha—? Shut the damn blinds! What do you think you’re doing?” She turned and found him sitting up in the middle of the bed, his elbows resting on his drawn-up knees, his face buried in his hands. “Good morning!” she said, brightly. “I brought you something to drink.” His head jerked up at the sound of her voice. “Who—what are you doing here?” Crossing her fingers behind her back, she grinned and said, “Why, you invited me to stay here with you...don’t you remember?” He groaned an answer. She picked up the cup. “Here. This should help.” He reached for it with a trembling hand. He sniffed, then made a face. Squinting into the cup, he asked, “What is it?” “Oh, my very special formula for late nights and overindulging.” “I never overindulge,” he stated with dignity. “That’s good to hear,” she replied, turning away. “Breakfast is almost ready.” “Good grief, this stuff tastes vile! What are you trying to do, poison me?” She stopped at the doorway and looked over her shoulder. “Now there’s a thought. If you’re going to be a baby, then don’t drink it.” She closed the door softly behind her. Dan felt as though he’d awakened in some kind of nightmare. He didn’t remember leaving the bar last night. He didn’t remember coming back to the condo. And he certainly didn’t remember anyone like the woman who’d just walked out of his bedroom. She wore a pair of bright yellow shorts that revealed shapely legs, a yellow halter top that displayed more than a little cleavage and long earrings of brightly painted macaws. Her black hair was pulled back from her face in an intricate braid, and her black eyes seemed filled with amazing good humor. What the hell was going on? He forced himself to drink the steaming, and very bitter, herbal tea. Not that he wanted it or even needed it. Granted he had the granddaddy of all headaches this morning, but he was certain that was due to too much sun yesterday. He felt his way into his bathroom and stared into the mirror. Why had he slept in his clothes last night? Well, at least that reassured him about one thing—he hadn’t made love to the seductive stranger who seemed to have made herself at home in his place. Why couldn’t he remember her? With that thought he had a sudden image of sitting in the bar and watching an exotic-looking woman come in wearing a red, saronglike dress. That’s all he remembered—a brief burst of memory, like a camera flash. Maybe he’d had a little more to drink last night than he’d thought. He didn’t remember settling up his tab with Laramie, but he knew that wasn’t a problem. He could go back to the bar today, or pay it this evening when he was there. The place had become a hangout for him lately. Dan stripped out of his clothes and stepped into the shower. He needed something to get him going. Somehow he was going to have to explain to the unknown woman that whatever he may have said to her last night, she couldn’t stay with him. He’d never had much time for relationships, especially in the past few years. A broken engagement had taught him a valuable lesson—most women wanted more of his time and attention than he had available. He closed his eyes and let the spray hit him in the face. He hadn’t thought of Sharon in a long while. He’d been really shaken when she’d called off the wedding just a few weeks before the ceremony was to take place. The problem, he’d realized many months later, was that he had been unprepared for her sudden decision. She’d never hinted there was a problem. In fact, the reason he’d been putting in the long hours was because of the three-week honeymoon they’d planned to take. That’s when he realized how little he understood women. He could deal with them quite well in a business setting, but socially he hadn’t a clue what to say to them. What had happened to him last night that had caused him to brave rejection by inviting his visitor home with him? And why had she said yes? By the time he was out of the shower, he’d firmly resolved to get some of his questions answered. But first, maybe he ought to shave. He rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. He could pass as Blackbeard the pirate at the moment. Not exactly what he’d had in mind for a dress code—even for his new vacation-style way of life. Shaving took longer than usual. Damn, he wondered how long it had been since he’d bothered? He also noticed his stomach growl a couple of times. He hadn’t been hungry in a long time. Maybe it had something to do with that horrible herbal drink. He returned to the bedroom and slipped into a pair of briefs and a faded pair of jeans. He grabbed a pullover shirt out of the drawer, one of the last clean ones, and reminded himself to wash some clothes today. When he opened the bedroom door he smelled the scent of bacon and coffee. A heavenly combination if he’d ever smelled one. He followed his nose into the kitchen area and discovered the small table there had been set for two. “My, don’t you look nice,” the woman said when he walked through the door. Dan rubbed his chin self-consciously. “Thanks,” he muttered. He looked at the table. “Uh, this is really nice of you, but you didn’t have to go to all this trouble.” “It’s no trouble.” She poured a glass of orange juice and handed it to him. “How do you like your coffee?” “Mmm, black.” Dan couldn’t figure this out. He could swear he didn’t know this woman and yet she was acting as though they’d lived together for years. He sat down and she placed a steaming plate of food in front of him. His stomach did a little flip and he closed his eyes. “I’m not sure—” he began, but she cut him off. “Eat. It’s the best thing for what ails you. You’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel once you get something solid inside you.” He rubbed his forehead, where little sledgehammers still tapped rhythmically. He wasn’t up to the argument. He picked up the coffee as soon as she set it down and sipped. Ah, that definitely helped. When the woman sat across from him he forced himself to meet her eyes. He got caught up in their size and shape and color. Large and black and slightly tilted, which gave her a very exotic look. He gave his head a quick shake. What difference did it make what her eyes looked like? “I’m a little hazy about last night,” he finally muttered. She gave him a brilliant smile. “Oh, you have absolutely nothing to apologize for, Dan. You were wonderful! I’ll never forget it.” He leaned back in his chair and looked at her with irritation. “Wonderful, huh?” She nodded with enthusiasm and began to eat. “Exactly what did I do that was so wonderful?” That seemed to give her pause. She finished chewing, took a dainty sip of juice—which triggered another memory—of her sipping from a wineglass—before looking at him with eyes that sparkled in the morning light. “Well,” she said slowly, “I don’t know how I could single out one particular thing.” She gave a little wave of her hand. “Try,” he replied, deciding to nibble on a little of the toast and bacon. He took a bite and was relieved to find it not only tasted good, but also had a very good chance of staying down. He was encouraged. “Well, you just—sort of—swept me off my feet. I couldn’t resist you. I—” She paused and watched him munch on a piece of toast. “You don’t believe me, do you?” “Not a word,” he assured her, taking a bite of egg with bacon. “Oh.” “So what is this all about? Who are you and why are you here?” She studied him for a long moment, then sighed. “You really don’t remember, do you?” He finished off the egg and another piece of toast before he said, “I remember enough to know that I was neither irresistible nor able to sweep you off your feet. I was doing well to navigate with my own two feet.” She laughed. It caught him off guard. She had a delightful, husky chuckle that felt like little fingers running up and down his spine. He straightened and reached for another piece of toast. She jumped up and returned with the coffeepot, refilling both their cups. When she sat down again she leaned her chin on her hands and asked, “Do you remember Buddy Doyle?” He stared at her, for the first time wondering if she was a mental case. If so, he would have to handle her very carefully. “Buddy Doyle?” he repeated. “Uh-huh.” “The only Buddy Doyle I know was a guy I knew back in high school. He was one of the best—and the biggest—defensive linemen on our football team for three years running.” She smiled, as though delighted with him. “That’s Buddy. I’m his kid sister, Shannon.” “Buddy Doyle is your brother.” “Yes.” “And what does Buddy Doyle have to do with your being here with me?” “Absolutely nothing.” “I see.” He wished to hell he did. This was becoming more bizarre with every moment. “I was behind you a few years in school,” she prompted. “You’re from Wimberley?” “That’s where I attended school. We had a ranch south of there.” Dan’s ranch was north of Wimberley. He didn’t remember Shannon at all. He would definitely have remembered her if they’d gone to school together. She was not the type of woman a man could easily forget. “So what are you doing here?” “Well, I’ve recently moved back to Texas, and I was looking for a job. I answered an ad in the Austin paper and discovered that you were the owner of the company, but that you were away on vacation. I thought that since I hadn’t had a vacation in a few years, myself, I would come down to the island for a few days. You can imagine my surprise when I saw you at that bar last night. It was like fate had thrown us together.” He carefully placed his utensils on his now empty plate and folded his arms. “Let me get this straight. You’re here to interview for a job?” Her infectious laugh cascaded in musical peals around him. “Oh, no. I’m going to enjoy the island for a while. I’ll wait until you get back to Austin to set up an interview.” “I have no idea when that will be.” “I’ll wait.” He eyed her with misgiving. “I don’t want to be rude, Ms. Doyle, but I don’t want you staying here.” Her smile was sunny. “My name is Shannon and I promise not to get in your way. I’ll be happy to prepare your meals, and do a little housework for you. You have a lovely place here. It will be a pleasure.” “Look, if you need money for a hotel room, I can probably help you out there.” “That’s so kind of you to offer, but this will do just fine. You go on about your routine. Just pretend I’m not here, okay?” With that she bounced out of her chair and efficiently gathered up their dishes. Dan could feel his jaw drop in astonishment. Granted, he didn’t know much about women, but surely this one was being more than a little brazen. “Do you expect me to sleep with you?” he asked coldly. She spun around and stared at him for a moment before offering him a jaunty smile. “Oh, no. That wasn’t part of the agreement.” “Then maybe you’d better explain the agreement.” “I’m going to be your housekeeper until you’re ready to go back to Austin.” Four (#ulink_20a64e34-9f14-59f0-b459-361beeaa6145) “You must be out of your mind,” he muttered. “I don’t need a housekeeper.” She patted his hand. “Well, let’s see how it goes for the next few days, all right?” “No! It isn’t all right. I came down here to be alone. Being alone would preclude having a housekeeper.” “Don’t worry. You won’t even know I’m around.” “Oh, right,” he replied, heavy on the sarcasm. “What do you usually do at this time of day, Dan?” Did she have to sound so blasted reasonable? He was feeling anything but reasonable at the moment. He made himself pause and get a grip on his rapidly escalating temper before he spoke. Finally, he said, “I’m usually asleep at this time of day,” he said through a clenched jaw. She smiled. “Well, now that you know what you’ve been missing, you should be thankful I got you up. How about a walk on the beach at dawn tomorrow? That’s my favorite time of day on the island. You’ll love it.” “My God, haven’t you heard anything I’ve said? I don’t want you here!” She finished loading the dishwasher before she turned around and faced him. “Don’t worry. I’ll grow on you. Eventually.” Then she had the absolute nerve to walk out of the room humming. He sat there, seething. All right, enough already. He’d call security and have them get her out of here. Oh, that would look good. Order security to remove a woman who was scarcely tall enough to come to his shoulder. As though she were some kind of threat to him. Actually, she was a threat to his peace of mind. He didn’t need the aggravation. He stomped into the living room and went out onto the balcony. Actually, the day looked quite pleasant. Not many people on the beach. Maybe he’d go down for a swim. He hadn’t bothered to get out much since he’d arrived. Hell, the first week he’d been here all he’d done was sleep, almost around the clock. The trial had taken its toll on him, that was certain. Helping to convict his long-time friend and business partner for stealing from their own company had been an exhausting nightmare. But it was over now and he had the rest of his life ahead of him. It was no one’s fault that his life no longer seemed to have any direction. Nor did he particularly care. He went back inside and marched down the hall to his bedroom. Shannon met him in the doorway with her arms full of linens and towels. She gave him a nod and a smile and eased past him. All right, so maybe he did need to get some chores done. Laundry hadn’t been a priority for him. He changed into swim trunks, found a lone towel in the cabinet and took it. Without comment he left the condo, went downstairs and outside. Chairs conveniently tucked beneath umbrellas clustered the beach in front of the high-rise building. He found an empty one, tossed the towel on it, then stalked to the water and waded in. He forced himself to keep going, despite the shock of the temperature to his warm body. At the moment, it was just what he needed—to cool off and to figure out what the hell he was going to do about his unwanted guest. Meanwhile, Shannon was upstairs on the phone with Mandy. “You made him angry?” his sister repeated worriedly. “I worked hard at it and I believe my efforts were successful.” “I suppose that’s better than the apathy he’s been going through.” “It would help if I understood what was going on with him,” Shannon said. “You told me that he’d had some business setbacks, and yet the company seems to be growing.” “Oh, I forgot you haven’t been here for the past few years. There was this huge investigation going on about the company. It started a couple of years ago. It seems that Dan’s partner, James Williams, was secretly taking microprocessor chips from the company, reporting them stolen, then helping to smuggle them out of the country so they could be sold to some Middle Eastern countries with whom the U.S. is no longer doing business of any kind.” “Oh, my.” “Yes. And when he finally got caught—thanks to Rafe’s sleuthing, by the way—James had set it up to look as if Dan was the one responsible for the thefts. He’d even arranged for the stuff to be picked up here on the ranch. Things really looked bad for Dan for a while. Since Rafe knew there was no way Dan could be involved, he just kept digging until he found out the truth. But it was really hard on Dan. He’d been friends with James for years. And of course he trusted him implicitly. So this has been really tough on him.” “Well, that does explain a few things. He’s probably suffering from a form of burnout.” “That’s what Rafe says. He says we should just leave him alone until he’s ready to face the daily grind again.” “Does Rafe know I’m down here?” “Oh, no. I mean, he knows you came in for an interview. In fact, I think you met him when you were in the office, didn’t you?” “Yes. I remembered him from school. I had no idea the two of you had gotten married, though, until he happened to mention being related to Dan through marriage.” Mandy laughed. “I think he’s still in shock, as well. I was so glad you called me, though. It was good to hear from you after all this time.” “I’m glad I did, too. We had a lot to get caught up on.” “Rafe’s going to kill me for encouraging you to go down there, but I don’t care. I feel so much better knowing that someone is with him. I guess it’s encouraging to know Dan cares enough to get angry. First at me yesterday and now you today.” Shannon chuckled. “Well, I have a hunch that I’ll be able to keep him on edge for a while longer, at least until he orders me out of here in no uncertain terms.” “Hang tough, Shannon. And thanks again for caring enough to check on him.” “Oh, that’s never been my problem where Dan’s concerned. I guess I’ve had him on some kind of pedestal all these years. It’s good to be able to see him as a person with faults and frailties of his own.” Mandy laughed. “Yeah. The trouble with putting someone on a pedestal is you have a much better view of his butt. And he can certainly be one at times.” “Well, I’ve almost got the place straightened up now. He’s really not a messy person, at all. Once I finish this last load of clothes I intend to go soak up some sun. And harass your brother a little more.” “Thanks for checking in this morning. I had my first good night’s sleep since he left. Believe me, you’ve been a real gift.” “Dan definitely doesn’t see it that way. But we’ll worry about that later. ’Bye now.” Shannon finished folding laundry, then changed back into her bathing suit. After slathering her skin with a heavy sunscreen, she grabbed a towel, a novel she’d brought with her and her sunglasses and went downstairs. More people were on the beach now than when she’d been there earlier. She spotted an empty chair and settled into it. Not wanting to burn on her first outing, she opened the beach umbrella knowing that she would still be exposed to enough sun to get tan from the reflection off the water. She read for a while, then closed the book and settled in for a short nap before the time came to start lunch. If nothing else, Dan had lucked out in the culinary department because she loved to cook. Unfortunately, she also loved to eat, which meant a constant battle to exercise off the pounds. The bane of being small-boned and short in stature was that every extra pound showed. Shannon allowed the soft sound of the rhythmic waves washing up on shore to soothe her into a deep sleep. * * * Dan had forgotten how enjoyable it was to swim in the Gulf. Careful of the undertow, he found deeper troughs between the sandbars close to shore to really push himself. He hadn’t realized how out of shape he’d gotten these past weeks. It felt good to work his body. Eventually he walked along the shore in knee-deep water and watched the surf fishermen pull in small sharks. He lost track of time until his stomach rumbled. He was actually hungry again. It would be too much to hope for to find that his new unappointed, uninvited and unwelcome housekeeper had left. He was pleasantly tired after his workout this morning. A good meal and a nap would suit him just fine. She’d obviously been to the grocery store. So maybe she’d already prepared something for lunch. If not, he could always dig around in the refrigerator for sandwich material. He was approaching the high-rise when he noticed three men talking to a woman seated in one of the chairs near where he’d left his towel. As he drew closer he discovered the woman was Shannon and whatever one of the men was saying had caused her to violently disagree. He couldn’t hear what was being said, but she was vehemently shaking her head no, which appeared clear enough to Dan. Hah. Now maybe she’d find out what it was like to deal with someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer. He took another look at the men. They didn’t look much like the usual beach-loving types. They wore bright, vacation-type shirts and shorts, but they were too pasty-colored to have spent much time in the sun. The true giveaway was the footwear—all three men wore black socks and lace-up shoes. Dan wondered if he should interfere. Maybe this was some guy she’d been dating who didn’t want to give her up. Dan supposed that would be possible. If he weren’t in the middle of some kind of nervous breakdown, he’d probably have welcomed her into his wayward life. In fact, he realized that despite the fact he’d just met her, Dan felt a little possessive where she was concerned. He didn’t like the idea that someone was pursuing her, particularly since it was obvious she wasn’t encouraging his attentions. The man doing all the talking suddenly grabbed Shannon by her upper arm and jerked her to her feet, which forced Dan into taking action. Whatever the guy’s beef, there was no reason to manhandle her. He picked up his pace and trotted toward them. “Hold it,” he hollered as he drew close. “That’s no way to treat a lady!” The other two men spun around and shifted so that they stood between him and the other two. “Stay out of this,” one of them said in a guttural voice. “It’s none of your business.” Dan had never liked bullies. He didn’t really assess the situation before moving closer. He was more concerned with how she was handling all of this. “Shannon?” he asked. “Are you okay?” Her answer, sounding shaky, alarmed him. “Uh, not really. I don’t have any idea who these men are or what they want, I just—” “Don’t give me that,” the man holding her arm said. “We told you we’re looking for Rick Taylor. We happen to know the two of you are pretty thick, so don’t try to deny it. You’ve led us on a long chase, lady, so don’t play games with me, ’cause I’m not in the mood.” Dan attempted to step closer, but one of the men blocked his way. He shoved him aside and grabbed the man holding Shannon, forcing him to let her go. “Leave her alone,” he said, doubling his fists. He was more than ready to lay him out. Dan couldn’t remember the last time his anger had overcome him. Only now, there was an object to his anger, somebody with whom he could face-off. Shannon screamed a warning of sorts at the same time Dan felt a blinding pain in the back of the head. He stumbled and fell to his hands and knees, which increased his ire. What the hell was going on? Who did these goons think they were, assaulting people? He attempted to stand when he was hit on the head again. This time, he went down for the count. Five (#ulink_14797aef-66b4-5a8d-9216-92f9876101ec) The first thing Dan became aware of when he regained consciousness was a nauseating, rocking movement and the fact that his head felt as though it was on the verge of exploding. The second thing he noticed was the sound of an engine droning somewhere nearby, and a soft, scented pillow for his head. From those pieces of information he managed to figure out that he was on a boat, going somewhere. He tried to move his head and intense pain shot through him. He groaned. “Oh Dan, I’m so sorry to get you involved in this mess. Are you okay?” Shannon. He would recognize that voice anywhere and at the moment it was only a few inches above him. He forced one eye open and saw her very worried face staring back at him. She was crouched on the floor of the boat where he lay sprawled, holding his head against her breast. What the hell had happened? Since she didn’t respond he decided he must have just thought the question. He licked his dry lips and forced his other eye to open. “Wha’s—” Was that his voice? He sounded drunk. He tried again. “Wha’ happened?” “One of those men hit you on the head. Twice! They carried you between them to a car where another man was waiting. He looked surprised to see us and started asking them what was going on. He said something about just hiring out his boat and car to them and that he wasn’t going to be a part of any assault and kidnapping. “While the man who seemed to be their leader talked to him in a low voice, the other two loaded you in the back of the car. By then I was determined to stay with you. I mean, they had no reason to hit you! They said they’d been looking for me. I don’t know what’s going on, but I didn’t want you disappearing on me.” “How long have I been out?” She thought about it for a moment and said, “It seems like forever, but I suppose it’s been about thirty minutes or so. Long enough for them to bring us to this boat, stow us down here and leave the marina. From the sounds I would guess we’re heading out into the Gulf.” “You’ve got to be kidding,” he murmured. Anything louder and his head protested. “We’ve been kidnapped?” She smoothed his hair away from his forehead, her eyes filled with shadows. “I’m afraid so.” He closed his eyes. The irony of the situation was almost more than he could take. How many times in a lifetime could a man expect to be kidnapped and live to tell about it? He’d been kidnapped when he first found out his ranch was being used to smuggle microprocessor chips out of the country. He wondered if he had a sign tattooed on his forehead signaling his availability to would-be captors. “Who are they?” he asked after several minutes of silence. “I have no idea. I’ve never seen them before. They may be from St. Louis, since they were asking me about Rick.” “Who’s Rick?” She sighed. “Rick Taylor. I went out with him a few times, then broke up with him. He became a real pest after that, and I finally decided that it wasn’t worth staying there and trying to deal with him when I was also getting fed up with some of the problems at work.” She stroked his cheek and jaw. “So I decided to return to Texas and look for work in the Austin area. I can’t believe that I’m still having problems because of Rick Taylor!” Dan reached up and gingerly touched the back of his head. His fingers came away covered with blood. “You’re having problems?” he repeated. He had to admit that lying against her like this made his pain lessen, somewhat, and he knew that he would forever think of her whenever he smelled that particular floral scent. “So tell me about this guy Rick,” he said, hoping to concentrate on something other than the throbbing pain in his head. “Well, he was very good-looking, charming, seemed to have lots of money. He always maintained that he worked in investments, but that was a little too vague for me. After I was with him a few times, I began to be really uncomfortable. He made me nervous. I didn’t like some of the people he hung around with.” “I can certainly understand that, if these are a few of his friends.” “I’ve never seen these men before.” “They seem to think you know where Rick is, which sounds as if he might be missing.” “I haven’t spoken to Rick in almost three months, so I have no idea where he might be. As far as I know, he’s still in St. Louis.” “Something tells me he isn’t or they wouldn’t have come looking for you.” Dan attempted to sit up and a sharper pain shot through his head like a bullet. And to think that he’d been complaining of having a headache when he woke up this morning. He’d had no idea what pain could be like. Well, this was just great. Here they were being carried out to sea for who knew what purpose, wearing nothing but their swimsuits. He noticed that she wore her cover-up jacket over her suit, but since it was sheer enough to see through, it wasn’t going to give her much protection. Конец ознакомительного фрагмента. Текст предоставлен ООО «ЛитРес». Прочитайте эту книгу целиком, купив полную легальную версию (https://www.litres.ru/annette-broadrick/tall-dark-and-texan/?lfrom=334617187) на ЛитРес. Безопасно оплатить книгу можно банковской картой Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, со счета мобильного телефона, с платежного терминала, в салоне МТС или Связной, через PayPal, WebMoney, Яндекс.Деньги, QIWI Кошелек, бонусными картами или другим удобным Вам способом.
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