"He's a protector with so much at stake"
Reviewed by Annetta Sweetko
Posted September 29, 2013
DEA agent Holt Donovan is facing crisis after crisis. His
latest mission is ruined by a gunfight then he gets a call
that his brother and sister-in-law were killed in a car
accident. Now he's back in Colorado to take care of his six-
month old nephew. He's about to have to fight the
grandparents who want custody of the baby. Then on top of
everything ... who walks into his life, but the woman who
once jilted his brother at the altar. Talk about feeling
like he is TWICE A TARGET and it's really only begun.
Maddie McCoy, a footloose photographer, ran away from
Colorado because she wasn't in love with Rob. Maybe she
should have been braver about it but what was done was
done. Now she was back and when she realizes that Rob and
his wife had left behind a baby, she wants to help anyway
she can. Holt and Maddie work together through old
resentment, guilt and surprisingly a strong and deep desire.
While settling into their new life and working through
their problems Holt begins to investigate his brother's
accident. His discovery of the truth is shocking and sets
his new family in unexpected danger. But when an old enemy
threatens everything he loves, Holt will do what he must to
TWICE A TARGET gives you heart pounding excitement from
beginning to end. There is a lot of action and some of it
physical, but you will also see Holt and Maddie work
through their past feelings and guilt in a believable step
by step way. These steps in no way slow this book down.
With the twists and turns that come their way, readers
might worry that there will be no happy ending, but never
fear ... love does prevail, it's just a little rocky
This is the third of the author's [Susan Vaughan] series
Task Force Eagle. I did not read the other two, and
not necessary in order to enjoy the thrill of this one, but
plan to put them in my TBR pile.
He doesn't want a woman he can't trust, and she doesn't want
a man who won't let himself trust her.
DEA Agent Holt Donovan's mission to trap Mexican cartel
kingpin El Águila ends in a disastrous gunfight. Before the
task force can regroup, the death of Holt's younger brother
and sister–in–law in a car crash sends him home
to run the family's debt–burdened Colorado ranch and
raise his infant nephew. Grief–stricken and
suspicious, he sets out to prove the crash was no accident
but murder. He has to fend off a custody suit by the baby's
grandparents and needs child–care help in a big way,
but not from the pampered female who jilted his brother
eight years ago.
Enter Maddy McCoy, Holt's first love and his brother's
ex–fiancée. Emailed by a friend about the deaths, she
arrives to offer condolences. The world–traveling
photographer never expected to return to Colorado but
couldn't resist returning to the Rockies, the only real home
she ever had and to the man she never forgot. Holt taunts
her about her past defection and her jet–set ways
until her grief over his brother's death makes him back off.
Looking to Maddy for help is Holt's last resort and he
expects her to bolt at any time, but he asks her to stay on
as nanny. Burned out from covering too many starving
children and refugees, short on funds, and stranded, Maddy
agrees, but she'll remain only as long as she can keep her
What neither of them knows is that by bringing Maddy into
his home, Holt has placed her in the cross–hairs of a
vengeful killer. As Holt and Maddy cope with their desire
for each other and the resentments of the past, their
investigation into the brother's death leads them into
escalating danger and a shocking discovery.
The first plate was finished and a second heaped before
Holt took time to savor the spicy beef, tortillas, and
cheese. He was rinsing his plate when he heard the engine.
He expected no one, and the hairs on his nape lifted in
warning. Lately every new arrival, every phone call heralded
A glance out the window in the kitchen door revealed the
back view of a long drink of female. Mile–long legs in
tight jeans and running shoes, sweetly curved butt, and
short blond hair. She was waving good–bye to the
deputy sheriff's white Cherokee as it chugged down the
What the hell? He snatched open the door and stalked outside.
When the woman turned around, the sight of her face
sucker–punched him in the solar plexus.
"Hi, Holt. Guess you never expected to see me here
again." Madelyn McCoy propped her hands on her hips and gave
him a crooked smile.
Sweat popped out on his brow. Had he somehow conjured up
Maddy? Same sassy mouth, violet eyes the exact shade of the
pansies Espie planted every May in the window boxes.
"McCoy, you're the last person I want to see. What the
hell are you doing here?" He stopped before his temper got
the best of him. The mere sight of her pushed all his hot
She'd lit out eight years ago a
twenty–year–old girl, pretty and tempting as a
mountain spring, but the female who stood hip–sprung
before him was all woman—and twice as sexy.
And twice as deceitful. He'd bet the next newborn calf on
it. The sooner she left the better.
Maddy held out open hands in a peace declaration. "Look,
I know with you I'm persona non grata." Her shoulders
slumped, and her sass slid to sorrow. "Faith Rafferty
emailed me...about Rob. I had to come to pay my respects."
Faith and Maddy used to be close. So that's how she knew.
His throat clutched, and he gritted his teeth. He didn't
want to share his loss with the woman who'd broken Rob's heart.
Facing Holt showed a measure of unexpected courage. As
children, they'd all been friends, Rob and Maddy and
him—kids running wild during the summers. Even if she
didn't love Rob enough to marry him and stay on the
Valley–D, she once cared for him. Holt had to admit
that, at least to himself.
Much as the sight of her troubled him, he'd accept her
He stared at the dust settling on the driveway. She had
no transportation. "Why did Luke Rafferty drive you here?
You in some kind of trouble?"
A shadow flickered across her eyes. Or it could be his
imagination. His DEA work dealing with lowlifes made him as
suspicious as a calf at branding time.
"Just car trouble," she said lightly, picking up the
metal case at her feet. A fancy camera case, if he wasn't
mistaken. "My Range Rover broke down in Rangewood. Luke
happened to see me at the diner."
Close up, he saw exhaustion in her eyes. "Reckon I could
drive you back later."
"How did it happen, Holt? The accident. All Faith said
was a car accident." She marched up the porch steps toward
him like an invading Amazon.
Damn, he had to tell the story again. His gut twisted
with the prospect. He ran his tongue around his teeth and
focused on the distant peak, still rosy with sunlight. "The
crash happened about a month ago. Rob and his wife were
headed down to Cripple Creek for a night out. They took the
shortcut from north of Rangewood that leads southeast to the
state road. Went off the road on a mountain curve and rolled
into a ravine."
Tears welled in her eyes. "Oh, Holt, how horrible. Did
"Rob and Sara died quick, I reckon." He couldn't let
himself think about their pain and fear. "That old truck
barely had seat belts, let alone air bags."
There was more to the story. A lot more. Including the
crash was no fucking accident. He had no proof yet, but he
knew. Dammit, he would find the bastard who'd murdered his
family. He couldn't tell Maddy any of that, and she didn't
need to know. He cleared his throat before he turned back to
Her voice caught on a sob. "I'm so sorry. What a terrible
He swallowed his pride. "I appreciate that. You didn't
have to come all this way though, from Timbuktu or wherever
"Malibu." A wobbly smile lifted the corners of her mouth.
"I figured if I telephoned you'd hang up on me. I had to
come in person...to see the grave."
"Fine. You know where the family plot is." He sketched a
wave in that direction.
"You don't give an inch, do you?" Maddy shook her head,
the movement lifting her short blonde hair like a buckskin
fringe on a sleeve. "I'd appreciate the use of your bathroom
before I go sit by Rob awhile."
Holt's first instinct was not to let her in the house,
but he couldn't act the ogre about it. Besides, she was
shivering in her denim jacket. He stepped back and held the
door as she sashayed in.
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