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Hot On Her Heels

Hot On Her Heels, November 2009
Lone Star Sisters #4
by Susan Mallery

HQN Books
Featuring: Dana Birch; Garth Duncan
384 pages
ISBN: 0373773846
EAN: 9780373773848
Mass Market Paperback
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"Last, but not Least in the Lone Star series"

Fresh Fiction Review

Hot On Her Heels
Susan Mallery

Reviewed by Stacey Hayman
Posted November 21, 2009

Romance Series | Romance Contemporary

It can be sad to see a series come to an end, but it helps if the ending is a good one. This is the last book in the Lone Star Sisters series, and it's a good one. Deputy Dana Birch has agreed to keep an eye on the Titan sister's half- brother, Garth Duncan. The women are hoping that Garth won't try to make anymore trouble if he knows he's under surveillance. Taking a leave of absence from the Titanville Police Department, Dana delivers the news to Garth that she'll be watching him, but she's disappointed by his lack of reaction. In fact, he makes it a little too easy for her and even brings back dinner for them to share in his apartment. Could it be that Garth isn't all bad? Except he must be a little bad, considering his past actions against the Titan sisters.

As Garth comes closer and closer to his final revenge against Jed, feelings and actions begin to escalate for everyone. Garth hadn't planned on caring about these feisty women who are his half-sisters and he absolutely hadn't planned on falling for Dana, the feistiest woman of them all, but that's what happened. On the other hand Jed doesn't seem to care about any of them, from his bastard son Garth, to his three daughters, to his daughters' best friend Dana. Feeling cornered, Jed begins to threaten anyone he can get near and Dana is the unlucky recipient of the first physical threat. When Garth finds out, he's surprised by strength of his reaction and his immediate need to protect Dana, and his sisters too, from Jed.

Can Garth proceed with his original plans to devastate the Titan family? Will Dana be able to leave her unhappy childhood in the past and allow Garth into her heart? Can the Titan children come together and destroy their heartless father or will they turn on each other as Jed hopes?

This isn't just Garth and Dana's story, although you could consider them the stars of the show. This book includes all the Titan sisters and their partners, Jed, and Kathy, Garth's mother. Each sister is given time and a reason to get closer to their half-brother and he's allowed to become more than an angry opponent to the Titan empire. Secrets from the past are explained and the siblings find common ground, allowing the reader to feel good about leaving the Titan family to their happy ending.

Learn more about Hot On Her Heels

SUMMARY

Dana Birch vowed never to put herself at the mercy of a powerful man. She became a deputy so that she could take care of herself, and protect those she loved. Especially her best friends, the Titan sisters.

Twenty years ago, Garth Duncan swore revenge on Jed Titan for abandoning Garth and his mother. Now he’s back to fulfill that promise, even if Jed’s daughters get caught in the crosshairs. All that stands between him and his goal is Dana, her gun, and a growing passion that can’t be denied...

Excerpt

Chapter One

It had taken four months, calling in every favor ever owed her, a case of expensive Scotch and a date with a disgustingly slimy private investigator who had made the mistake of thinking “date” meant “sex”. A knee to the groin had cured him of that belief. In the end, Dana Birch had gotten her man.

Now, as she rode the elevator up to Garth Duncan’s penthouse condo, she smiled at the paperwork in her hand. Paperwork that demanded he come talk to the good people at the Dallas Police Department. Paperwork that said Garth was going to have a very bad day. She, on the other hand, couldn’t be happier.

“Rat bastard, weasel dog,” she murmured as she stepped off the elevator and headed to his front door. “You thought you were so smart. You thought you could do whatever you wanted and get away with it. You thought you could hurt my friends.”

If life were perfect, he would resist accompanying her and she could threaten him with her gun. Maybe even accidentally shoot him. If only he were the type of guy to cower in the face of authority, not to mention consequences. In her fantasies, he would tremble and beg. While it wasn’t as good as watching him bleed, it would be a close second. Unfortunately Garth was more the type to have a $1000 an hour attorney who lived to sue police departments. Not that his high-powered attorney would be much help today.

“You are so mine, Garth,” she said, then knocked.

In the minute or so it took him to answer, she savored the victory. She’d worked hard to nail Garth and it had been worth every long hour of digging, following up clues and waiting for a lucky break. It was his own fault, she thought cheerfully. He’d messed with people she cared about. No one did that without having to face her.

The front door opened. She smiled as she saw Garth was half-concealed behind the door. Maybe he was afraid, she thought with a flicker of contempt.

She held out the papers. “Good morning. We’re going to take a little ride downtown.”

“Are we?” he asked as he opened the door wider, so she could see all of him. “Am I allowed to get dressed first?”

An unexpected twist, Dana thought grimly as she took in the towel draped around his neck, covering his chest, and the one around his waist. He was dripping, obviously just out of the shower. His dark hair stood in little spikes, his expression was far more amused than worried.

“At least you know I’m not armed,” he said, his voice thick with humor.

“I wouldn’t be afraid if you were.”

“That’s because you don’t know what I’m capable of, Deputy Birch. So which is it? Are you prepared to parade me naked through the streets of Dallas or will I be putting on clothes?”

He sounded confident, as if he knew she wouldn’t take him in a towel, which was true. Damn him. She liked situations where she was in charge.

“You can get dressed,” she said grudgingly. “I’ll need to be in the room, though, to make sure you don’t try to escape.”

He actually gave her a little wink. “Of course you will. That’s as good an excuse as any.”

Irritation coursed through her. Instinctively she rested her right hand on her sidearm. “You wish,” she snapped. “Let me assure you I have no interested in seeing your bony backside. Or any other part of you.”

One corner of his mouth turned up. “You can watch, Dana. I don’t mind.”

He was playing with her, trying to mess with her mind. She focused on the reason she was here.

“Joke all you want,” she told him. “You’re going to jail.”

“If only wishing made it so.”

“You’re not getting out of this,” she snapped. “I have the proof I need.”

“No, you don’t.” His voice was low and deceptively soft. “If you had what you needed, you’d be arresting me, not bringing me in for questioning. Admit it, Dana. You’re not even close to charging me with anything. This is a fishing expedition.”

While she knew in her head that reacting with violence only weakened her position and proved he was right, she really, really wanted to hit him.

“I’m officially bored,” she said, dropping her arm to her side. “Let’s get this over with.”

“The part where you watch me naked?”

She stepped into his condo and rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Lucky, lucky me. Have you been featured ‘Arrogance Monthly’ yet?”

“I’ve been on the cover.”

He shut the door, then led the way through the large penthouse.

The main room was huge—she was guessing she could fit her apartment and five others just like it in the space. There were floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of most of Dallas. Not that she cared about that sort of thing.

She returned her attention to the man in front of her, then frowned as sunlight caught his back, illuminating the scars criss-crossing his skin.

A few of them were thin lines, but most were thick and raised, as if the skin had been cut over and over again. Her stomach clenched slightly, not that she allowed her expression to change.

She knew the basic facts about Garth Duncan. He was rich—scary rich, with dozens of companies and money flowing like water. He’d started in the oil business and while down in South America, no doubt raping and pillaging a pristine part of the world, he’d been captured and held prisoner by some angry locals. They’d kept him and a co-worker blind-folded in the jungle for a month, torturing them both daily.

Her gaze dropped to his long, muscled legs. She could see faint scars there, too, but these had come from a surgeon. Both of Garth’s legs had been broken during his captivity. His friend had carried him to safety.

If only Garth had died back then, Dana thought, but without a whole lot of energy. He wouldn’t be hurting her friends. But he hadn’t died. He’d flourished.

She followed a few steps behind as he entered a massive bedroom, then continued into a bathroom the size of a grocery store. That led into one of those fancy closets done in dark wood. All the clothes—men’s clothes—were perfectly organized by color. Shoes were lined up on racks.

She leaned against the doorway, never taking her eyes from him. “Any time.”

His dark gaze locked with hers. He seemed to be enjoying himself, which pissed her off. But once the investigation began, his attitude would change. She was bringing him in. For now, that was enough.

His smile returned. He pulled the towel off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor. “If you don’t have to be anywhere in the next couple of hours, we could take advantage of my lack of clothes.”

“Hours? Oh, please. You’d be lucky to last six minutes. Quit playing, Garth. I have a full day ahead of me. Despite what you think, the world doesn’t revolve around you.”

“Yes, Deputy Birch.”

He dropped the towel at his waist.

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