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Authors: Judith E. French

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Blood Kin

BOOK: Blood Kin
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RAVE REVIEWS FOR JUDITH E. FRENCH!

AT RISK
RITA Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense of 2005


At Risk
is a taut, edgy and outstanding psychologically suspenseful thriller that keeps you rapidly turning the pages.”

—Affaire de Coeur

“The gritty drama and intense characters definitely make an impact. This is one thriller that will have you looking over your shoulder.”

—RT BOOKreviews

“With
At Risk
, Ms. French has made a strong and promising beginning in the romantic suspense genre.”

—Romance Reviews Today

“The suspense in
At Risk
is top notch. . . . a real page-turner.”

—Romance Reader at Heart


At Risk
is so compelling and suspenseful you can't put it down once started. . . . A top-notch suspense by a superlative writer!"

—Reader To Reader Reviews

THE WARRIOR

“The highly unusual setting and smoothly flowing prose help make this a superior novel of historical romance.”

—Publishers Weekly

“This tale takes you on a magical, action-packed journey into the heart of a great and powerful man and into a time and place like no other.”

—RT BOOKreviews

“Realistic dialogue and excellent research along with amazing characters who leap off the pages . . . For a wild ride through ancient times,
The Warrior
is a terrific journey.”

—Romance Reviews Today

 

MORE PRAISE FOR JUDITH E. FRENCH!

THE BARBARIAN

“Combining strong, fully developed characters, colorful descriptive locales, and a beautifully haunting romance,
The Barbarian
is a must-read.”

—The Midwest Book Review


The Barbarian
is an exhilarating ride through the deserts of Egypt as a woman and a man fight for all they believe in against the might of a king.”

—A Romance Review

“This sequel to
The Conqueror
is packed full of vivid historical details that will transport the reader back to mystical Egypt. A great read!”

—The Best Reviews

THE CONQUEROR

“Historical fiction fans will have a feast!”

—Romantic Times

“Judith E. French has skillfully crafted not only a top-notch romance but an excellent work of historical fiction.”

—A Romance Review

“Don't miss
The Conqueror
.”

—Romance Reviews Today

“Extremely compelling . . . [this book is] a difficult one to put down.”

—LikesBooks.com


The Conqueror
is a strong historical tale . . . action packed.”

—The Midwest Book Review

MIDNIGHT RAIN

“I heard it again—I mean I saw someone. Outside. In the rain, under the big oak. He was whistling. I thought. . .”

“It was me?” He gave a snort of amusement as he stripped off his wet denim jacket. His black Jimmy Buffet T-shirt was as soaked as his jeans. “Do you mind?” He motioned to his shirt. “Emma will kill me if I leave a trail of water from here to the laundry room.”

It wasn't the first time she'd seen Daniel without a shirt, but tonight his hard-muscled chest and the thin scar that ran from one nipple down across his ribs seemed more ominous. “No.” Bailey tried to make a joke of it as she attempted to slide the pepper spray into her pocket without being seen.

She failed.

“Were you planning to use that on me?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other books by Judith E. French:

THE WARRIOR

AT RISK
THE BARBARIAN
THE CONQUEROR

BLOOD
KIN

JUDITH E.
FRENCH

C
ONTENTS

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

For Sorcha Gobnait Ni Scanaill,
with all my love.
Erin go braugh!

DORCHESTER PUBLISHING

Published by

Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.
200 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Copyright © 2006 by Judith E. French

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Trade ISBN: 978-1-4285-1673-1
E-book ISBN: 978-1-4285-0143-0

First Dorchester Publishing, Co., Inc. edition: September 2006

The “DP” logo is the property of Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.

Printed in the United States of America.

Visit us online at
www.dorchesterpub.com
.

BLOOD

KIN

P
ROLOGUE

Tawes Island, Valentine's Day

Frowning at the slash of orange that had caught his attention, Daniel eased off the marshy bank and out onto the surface of the frozen gut. Ice splintered ominously under his right boot, and he swore. The water here was at least chest-deep, with a good yard or two of black silt beneath—not a spot he wanted to claw his way out of in twenty-degree weather with a fifteen-knot wind. The Chesapeake Bay country was beautiful, but it could kill a man if he wasn't careful.

Like the senator . . . ?

Senator Joseph Marshall's disappearance while duck hunting on New Year's Day had launched a three-week rescue attempt that had drawn worldwide media attention. The coast guard, volunteer fire companies, and the national guard from three states had unsuccessfully searched the bay and every square inch of shoreline of the island and neighboring mainland, to no avail.

Daniel took another step toward the flash of color beneath the ice. Nausea rose in his throat. He exhaled slowly through clenched teeth and swallowed. Joseph Marshall's face was pressed grotesquely against the underside of two inches of ice. Those shrewd blue eyes were open wide; his mouth gaped in a silent scream. The thick, dark hair he'd worn so fashionably cut and styled streamed out on both sides of flaccid, fish-belly-white cheeks and a ragged protruding tongue.

Daniel let his gaze travel down the senator's submerged body. His guess was that Joe Marshall's political ambitions had been cut short by a single blast from a twelve-gauge shotgun.

Some might call it island justice.

C
HAPTER
O
NE

June

Bailey clutched at the side of the boat and watched as the dark line on the horizon grew to a vivid patchwork of green and brown. “Is that Tawes?” She raised her voice to be heard above the
chug-chug-chug
of the smoking motor.

“That's her.” The only other occupant of the shabby wooden skiff squinted into the sunshine from the shelter of a worn baseball cap, tucked a dab of snuff under his lip, and nodded. “Tawes Island. No other.”

The stubble-chinned skipper's reply came out as “Nother,” but Bailey was beginning to understand his quaint speech patterns. He'd identified himself as “Cap'n Creed Somers, but Creed'll do,” back at the Crisfield Dock where she'd left her car.

“Not what she was,” the garrulous waterman continued. “Ursters and cray'abs about played out. Not like the old days, when my daddy could make a decent living fer his family. You shoulda seen Tawes then. Real
ferryboat run ever' day but the Sabbath, hauling groceries, tray'ctor parts . . .”

Bailey nodded noncommittally as Creed rattled on, his words nearly drowned by the slap of waves and the chug of the noisy motor. She thought she'd smelled alcohol on Creed's breath and never would have boarded his boat if she'd known that she'd be the only passenger. The trip from Crisfield had taken the better part of an hour, but the aging skiff, which had seemed disreputable back at the dock, had performed faultlessly.

Being out on the water was a novelty for Bailey, and she'd been captivated by the feel of the salt breeze on her face and the haunting cries of laughing gulls. Of all she'd expected to do on summer break, spending a few days on an isolated island in the Chesapeake was definitely at the bottom of the list; but now that Tawes was a reality and not just a name on the evening news, she felt her excitement rising.

Was it possible that she had been born and put up for adoption here on this tiny island? After years of intense curiosity about her birth family, receiving the letter from Attorney Forest McCready informing her of an inheritance seemed like the plot of a made-for-TV movie. Was it going to be this easy to find the answers she'd been seeking all her life? And how had McCready located her if her adoption records were sealed?

Bailey hoped this wouldn't prove a case of mistaken identity. She wasn't getting her hopes up. If the house this unknown great-aunt had supposedly left her was a falling-down shack in a disreputable part of town, she'd simply refuse the bequest, have a good laugh, and go home with a great story to tell Elliott.

“I expect you heard about the excitement here last February,” Creed said, breaking into her thoughts. “That hunting accident? The senator that got shot?”

Bailey nodded. “Yes. I did. On the evening news. And the papers.” How could she not have seen it? When the senior senator from Maryland and the chair of House Appropriations went missing for weeks and then turned up riddled with bullet holes, the media had a field day. “A real tragedy,” she said. “Senator Marshall was a native of Tawes, wasn't he?”

“Born and bred. Knew old Joe pretty well, I did. Should know him. He's a second cousin on my mama's side. Course, that was long afore he went off to Harvard and made himself a big name in politics.” Creed spit over the side of the boat. “Ain't buried here, though. Missus had what was left of him cremated. Set him on her chimney mantel in a fancy jar, I suppose.”

“I'm sorry,” she said. “For your loss.”

Creed shrugged. “No need. Joe and me wasn't what you'd call friends. Like they say, you can't pick your kin.”

“No, I suppose not.” A buoy bobbed just ahead. Two gulls balanced on the top while a third circled overhead.

“Never voted for him.” Creed slowed the boat to half speed. “Don't want to throw up a wake coming into the docks.”

Bailey turned her attention to the houses, docks, and boats directly ahead of them. The picturesque harbor looked like a painted scene on a calendar, too pretty to be real. She wished she'd thought to bring her camera. If she'd gotten some good shots, she could have had them blown up and framed to give Elliott for Christmas. The white walls in his Rehoboth Beach apartment were in desperate need of something besides
the faded Parrothead poster and the menu of the nearest Chinese takeout restaurant.

BOOK: Blood Kin
4.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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