In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat by Rita Herron Read Free Book Online

Book: In a Heartbeat by Rita Herron Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rita Herron
Tags: Suspense
Loneliness. Maybe even…attraction.
    But the look disappeared so quickly she was certain she’d imagined it. In fact, his jaw snapped rigidly tight, indicating his mind was on one thing and one thing only—this latest case. He was all FBI.
    But during the trial, when he’d sat by her side, she’d sensed the bottled-up rage that simmered below the surface of the tight-lipped, hard-edged agent persona. She felt that rage teetering on the verge of exploding now.
    “What is it, Lisa?” Ruby asked. “Honey, you look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”
    She had. The ghost of a past she’d left behind. “I…” Jamie and Peggy tugged at her skirt, and she jerked her attention back to the children. “Time to collect our scarves,” she said, adding a light tone to her voice to hide the turmoil riddling her. “Dance over to the box and put them inside. Then get your backpacks ready to go home.”
    The kids ran toward the cubbyholes and grabbed their bags, then Ruby gathered them into a circle to hand out the day’s artwork, butterflies they’d created from clothespins and tissue paper. Finally, Lisa lined them up in the hallway for car pool, hugging each one goodbye before Ruby connected them with their ride.
    Hoping to stall as long as possible, Lisa hurried into the room and began straightening up.
    Ruby gathered the art supplies. “Go on and speak with that man, I’ll finish up here. You shouldn’t keep him waiting.”
    Lisa bit back the truth, hating to lie to her friend. But Ruby was a born mother and would worry to death if she knew the facts about Lisa’s past. She’d been trying to build a new life here, to escape the pitying looks and questions. She couldn’t let the ugliness from her past color her new world.
    Only now Special Agent Brad Booker had shown up at her workplace, threatening that tiny bit of peace. Because he was here to talk about his investigation. The Grave Digger. The past one. And the present.
    He had to look for a connection. On some level, she understood that, but she didn’t like it. And another part of her, the feminine part, resented the fact that work was the only reason a man like Brad would visit her.
    “Go on, scoot.” Ruby whisked a hand toward her, and Lisa relented, retrieved her purse and walked into the hall.
    Brad approached her, his broad shoulders squared, his face devoid of expression. He didn’t immediately speak, seemed to understand that she needed time to process his appearance.
    Just as she remembered, his skin seemed naturally bronzed and his short clipped hair was as black as coal, as if somewhere in his past he had Italian ancestry. God, he was an intimidating man, handsome as sin but rock-hard, with unforgiving eyes.
    He was undeniably the sexiest man she’d ever seen.
    She remembered rousing in his arms after he’d pulled her from the grave, and had felt an instant connection to him. With Brad, she’d never been afraid.
    At least not physically. But emotionally…he scared her to death. He made her want to feel again. To take a chance.
    But discussing the Grave Digger was something she couldn’t handle.
    Besides, he had demons haunting him that were every bit as awful as hers. Demons she knew he’d never talk about, just as she didn’t about her own.
    “I knew you’d come,” she said, when he started to speak. “But we’re not going to visit here. Let’s go to the coffee shop.”
    He gave a clipped nod, his gaze scrutinizing her. She wondered if she had glue on her clothes, or if he was simply remembering the way she’d looked during the trial, the way she sometimes still saw herself. Her hand automatically went to her neck to feel for the amethyst that her mother had given her, but then she remembered it was gone. William had stripped it off, just as he’d stripped her soul.
    The old familiar humiliation crawled back up her spine. When Brad found her, her entire body had been black-and-blue with bruises, her cheeks, nose and lips purple and

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