Authors: Linda O. Johnston
Passion flares between a mysterious woman and a covert investigator who knows her secret…
With death threats behind her and a hot new appearance, “Kelly Ladd” defies Identity Division rules to go undercover in Blue Haven. She’s determined to bring down her sister’s killer and protect her nephew. A job as a waitress seems like the perfect disguise…until she’s recognized by Alan Correy, a security expert with a competing agenda! Although Kelly mistrusts Alan as much as he disdains her rule breaking, they agree to work together, even pretending to date. But as they close in on the killer, the romance becomes real…as real as the death the murderer leaves in his wake.
“So what do you want to talk about?”
“You, Kelly. And Shereen Alsop.”
Even though she’d expected this, at least somewhat, she flinched but didn’t stop walking.
“Who’s that?” she asked. Part of her training when provided a new identity was to admit nothing, so she wasn’t about to tell Alan she recognized that name. Her real name.
“That’s good,” he said. “You’re at least complying with some of the instructions you were given. But you shouldn’t have come here. That was completely against what you were told.”
“Oh, really?” She kept her tone light. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The hand holding hers moved enough to swing her around, and suddenly Alan was looking down at her. Kelly could still see the anger on her companion’s face, and it made her wince.
“I…” Before she could figure out how to finish, his mouth came down on hers.
His kiss was startlingly sexy, and so was the way his body soon molded to hers.
Get away from him
, something inside her screamed. She could be in danger.
* * *
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This is my second book about the ID Division of the US Marshals Service. The first was
I created the ID Division for the situation where a person knows about a crime that affects her but didn’t witness it and can’t provide other evidence against the guilty party. And then the guilty party threatens that person, but remains subtle about it.
In that case, the endangered person can’t get into a witness protection program, since she can’t testify in court or provide other evidence to help convict the guilty party. But she still needs help. And the guilty party still needs to be prosecuted.
That’s where my ID Division comes in. It both helps create a new identity for the person in trouble, and also sends a team member undercover to locate the missing evidence to convict that guilty party.
And once again, in
, the woman whose identity was changed and the undercover operative looking for that evidence clash—yet find their mutual attraction irresistible.
Linda O. Johnston
Linda O. Johnston
loves to write. While honing her writing skills, she worked in advertising and public relations, then became a lawyer…and enjoyed writing contracts. Linda’s first published fiction appeared in
Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
and won a Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the Year. Linda now spends most of her time creating memorable tales of paranormal romance, romantic suspense and mystery. Visit her on the web at
Books by Linda O. Johnston
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Alpha Force Series
Back to Life
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is dedicated to those in danger, and those in love.
And yes, as always, I dedicate this book to my wonderful husband, Fred.
es, I’ll be glad to bring you—” Kelly Ladd froze in the middle of her response to her customer’s question. She had just glanced toward the restaurant’s front door.
Stan Grodon stood in the crowd that was just entering.
Stan Grodon, the murderous SOB. The reason she had returned to Blue Haven, California—as well as the reason she’d previously been forced to flee for her life. And now—
“Miss? Miss? I’d really like sausage instead of bacon in my three-cheese omelet. Is that okay?”
Kelly’s attention returned quickly to the glare of the middle-aged lady in a too-tight Blue Haven Bulldogs T-shirt who sat with a couple of other similarly clad women at the round table nearest her. She stood between two of them, leaning slightly forward, a pad of paper and a pen in her hand to jot down their orders.
“I’m terribly sorry,” she said soothingly, glad her voice wasn’t cracking. “Of course you can have sausage instead of bacon. Are the types of cheese okay?”
Kelly forced herself to concentrate on taking the orders of all the women at the table, not watching the entrance of the city council members and others with them. Or at least not doing so overtly. She stood sideways so she wouldn’t be too obvious.
But she did manage to observe them as they waited to be seated. Especially the man who had gotten away—so far—with killing his wife. Who had attempted to kill Kelly.
And who was now endangering his own son.
When Kelly headed to the next customer at the table, she allowed herself to turn just a little, to grab a quick look at the group. She had known that a few Blue Haven City Council members and some staff were expected here for a 9:00 a.m. breakfast. They’d sent someone ahead to make sure tables would be ready for them.
Which had also given Kelly time to prepare herself mentally—as much as she could—assuming Stan might be among them. And maybe the other man she anticipated, his aide, Paul Tirths.
Paul was not here, but Stan was. Kelly had played out this moment hundreds of times in her mind. Thousands. Yet she knew reality was unlikely to unfold exactly as she’d imagined.
She just hoped it soon allowed her, at last, to achieve her goals. And stay alive.
She forced herself to smile and act as if she was paying complete attention to what the next customer said. In fact, she was paying some attention. She had to. She was a waitress here, which included taking orders, serving and more. That was the cover she had created for herself. A perfect cover, since she had been fully aware of how popular this family-style café was with the local city council.
Plus, she now knew how to be the ultimate server, thanks to her new identity—although she’d unfortunately had to walk out on the job she had been given to start her new life.
And in doing so, she had undoubtedly incurred a lot of wrath that she would ultimately have to face.
But not yet. Now it was almost time. Time to see if her new looks, that new identity, her new persona, had all been changed sufficiently to make sure Stan couldn’t recognize that she was actually Shereen Alsop, sister to Andi Grodon, the woman who’d been his wife.