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A WOLF IN DUKE'S CLOTHING
A WOLF IN DUKE'S CLOTHING

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Books to enjoy in May! Let your reading blosson!

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RESCUE: COWBOY STYLE by REBECCA ZANETTI


Excerpt of Her Eyewitness by Rita Herron

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Harlequin Special Releases
Harlequin
February 2006
Featuring: Collin Cash; Sydney Green
256 pages
ISBN: 037347055X
Paperback
Add to Wish List

Romance Suspense, Romance Series

Also by Rita Herron:

Suspicious Circumstances, October 2020
e-Book
Protective Order, September 2020
e-Book
Hostage at Hawk's Landing, March 2019
e-Book
Good Little Girls, August 2018
Paperback / e-Book
Pretty Little Killers, February 2018
Trade Size / e-Book
All The Dead Girls, December 2016
Paperback / e-Book
All the Pretty Faces, April 2016
Paperback / e-Book
All The Beautiful Brides, September 2015
Paperback / e-Book
My Evil Valentine, February 2014
e-Book
Cover Me, March 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Ultimate Cowboy, February 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Dying To Tell, January 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Native Cowboy, January 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Before She Dies, November 2012
e-Book
A Christmas Mission: Saving the Street Boys, November 2012
e-Book
Cowboy in the Extreme, February 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Brandishing a Crown, January 2011
Paperback
Unbreakable Bond, July 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Forbidden Passion, April 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Peek-A-Boo Protector (Harlequin Intrigue Series), September 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Dark Hunger, August 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Collecting Evidence, May 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Platinum Cowboy, February 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Silent Night Sanctuary, November 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Insatiable Desire, September 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Beneath The Badge, August 2008
Paperback
Memories Of Megan, June 2008
Paperback (reprint)
In The Flesh, May 2008
Paperback
Under His Skin, February 2008
Paperback
Up In Flames, December 2007
Paperback
Don't Say A Word, September 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Anything For His Son, August 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Say You Love Me, June 2007
Paperback
Justice for a Ranger, March 2007
Paperback
Force of the Falcon, December 2006
Paperback
Look-Alike, September 2006
Paperback
Last Kiss Goodbye, August 2006
Paperback
Return to Falcon Ridge, May 2006
Paperback
In a Heartbeat, March 2006
Paperback
Her Eyewitness, February 2006
Paperback
Vows of Vengeance, January 2006
Paperback

Excerpt of Her Eyewitness by Rita Herron

"'Sergeant Raeburn, I didn't kill my husband.'"

Sydney Green wiped at the perspiration dotting her forehead, wishing she could forget the image of Doug lying facedown in a pool of blood.

The detective's bold look of disbelief unnerved her. "'And you have no idea who'd want him dead?'"

"'No.'' The wooden chair squeaked as she shifted her weight. Even two weeks later, the scent of death and the coppery taste of fear she'd experienced as she'd knelt beside Doug rushed back.

The paunchy, near-bald policeman paced, his heavy boots thudding against the wood floor. His incessant motion intensified the tension radiating through the small office. The stained, yellowed walls felt as if they were closing in on her.

Raeburn finally paused, planted one beefy arm on the scarred table and bent over so his face was only inches from hers. His breath smelled of cigarettes, his body of sweat. "'You put on a good innocent act, Mrs. Green, but I'm not buying it.'"

The condemning look in his expression almost shattered her self-control.

"'You said you came home around 11:00 p.m. and found your husband immediately, but you didn't report it until almost an hour later. And no fingerprints other than yours and your husband's were found in your house.'"

"'Just what are you implying?'' Sydney asked bitterly, unable to believe anyone could think she was a killer. Raeburn had read her her rights the first time he'd questioned her, but she'd been in such a state of shock she hadn't realized the implications of answering his questions. Perhaps she should call a lawyer.

"'I'm just trying to get to the truth.'"

"'I told you the truth.'' Her stomach clenched into a knot. "'I came in and found Doug on the floor. He was pale, chalky-looking.'' She hesitated, twisting her hands in her lap. "'I rushed to him and saw the blood. So much blood. He didn't respond to me. I jumped up to call for help...then someone knocked me over the head.'' She hesitated again, wondering if she could have done something different. Something that would have saved Doug. She tucked away the guilt, but not before she saw suspicion in the detective's feral eyes. "'As soon as I regained consciousness, I called 911. You have to believe me! Why aren't you looking for the killer?'"

Raeburn dug a toothpick out of his plaid-shirt pocket and stuck it in the corner of his mouth, chewing on it thoughtfully as he continued to stare at her. Sydney fought the urge to close her eyes. Every time she did, she saw the awful bloodstain that had soaked the carpet.

"'What if I think I've got the killer right here?'' Rae- burn asked in a deceptively calm voice as if he'd already tried and convicted her.

"'Sergeant, I photograph babies and children for a living,'' she replied softly, swiping at her tears. "'I believe in family and home and all that sappy stuff. I'm not a murderer. I had no reason to hurt Doug. I loved him.'"

She stood, ready to leave. "'And if you continue to harass me, I will call an attorney.'"

His eyes didn't soften. "'So you're telling me you and your husband had a good marriage?'"

Sydney prayed her voice didn't give her away. "'Yes. Now I wish you'd leave me alone and let me grieve.'"

"'Are you sure your marriage was stable? No problems? Arguments, money trouble?'' The sardonic edge in his tone sent a chill slithering up her spine. "'Everything okay in the bedroom, Mrs. Green?'"

Sydney refused to let him coerce her into discussing the more intimate details of her marriage. Instead, she folded her arms across her chest and met his gaze, praying her voice sounded steady. "'Not that our personal life is any of your business, but that was fine, too.'' She took a deep breath. "'In fact, we were trying to have a baby.'"

For a fraction of a second, the steely glint in his eyes slipped. "'Is that so?'"

"'Yes.'' Sydney looked away, picking at a piece of lint on her dress. "'I wanted a baby more than anything in the world.'"

Raeburn leaned so close Sydney unconsciously retreated as far as possible against the table, ignoring the pain when the wood pressed into her hip. "'Then why did your husband have a vasectomy?'"

The breath whooshed from her lungs. ''What?'' "'You want me to believe you didn't know?'"

Hurt, shock, then anger rippled through her. The tears she'd tried to keep at bay tracked down her face, un- checked, as she shook her head. "'You're lying. That's not true. We were trying to have a baby. Doug wanted one as badly as I did. He said so.'"

"'It is true, Mrs. Green,'' Raeburn said in a quiet voice.

"'I saw the autopsy report. He'd had a vasectomy.'"

Sydney pressed her fist against her mouth to hold back a sob as the detective's words sliced through her. Any hope she'd had that Doug had really loved her died immediately. She'd known her husband had secrets, had suspected an affair, maybe something illegal going on. But this...

Raeburn laid his hand beside the tape recorder and leaned forward. "'You know what I think? I think you killed your husband, and you needed that extra time to get rid of the gun before you called 911.'' His voice lowered to a menacing pitch. "'And I'll give you credit — you were good, even made a real lump on your head to throw suspicion off yourself. And now I know why.'"

A feeble protest died on her lips as she realized she'd fallen right into Raeburn's trap. The next time she spoke with him, she would definitely have a lawyer present. Because in her grief and her inability to hide her pain, she'd just confirmed she had a motive to kill her husband.

AS DUSK SETTLED around the small town of Beaufort, Collin removed his sunglasses, cataloging the details of the police station, trying to decide whether or not to get out of his Bronco, go in and ask questions. He'd come here to repay his debt to the man who'd given him back his sight.

After the bizarre vision, he'd hounded his friend and colleague, Sam, until he'd pulled some strings and found out the name of the donor. The short report Sam had faxed him about Doug Green said he'd been an entrepreneur, that he put together deals for start-up companies. He raised capital for them, then took them public.

Not only a smart man, but an honorable one — Green had donated a part of his body for someone else's benefit.

And Collin would never be able to thank him personally for it.

Green had been married to his wife, Sydney, for only a year. Collin shifted in his seat, unable to shake the feeling that had nagged him for the past few weeks and made him drive to Beaufort. Doug Green had been murdered. Why? Maybe there was something he could do to solve the crime, something that would make his nightmares disappear. Unofficially, of course.

The door to the station opened and a woman exited. Sydney Green. He recognized her from the snapshot in the newspaper article Sam had sent him. For a brief second she raised her head and seemed to stare right at him. Tears streaked her cheeks and his gut clenched at the sorrow in her heart-shaped face.

Her beauty and vulnerability struck a chord of longing in him he hadn't experienced in a long time. Slender, she wore a light blue sundress with spaghetti straps and flat sandals. Her sable hair fell in waves over her shoulders, and her eyes were as blue as the summer sky. He felt like an intruder, spying on her as she walked slowly toward a green Honda, her face pale, her shoulders hunched.

What had happened inside? Had the local police already solved the case?

If not, did they suspect Sydney Green? The cop in him had dissected the case the minute he'd finished Sam's report. The prime suspect in a murder case was usually the spouse. Given the facts, this case looked classic — domestic passion gone awry. No break-and-enter. No struggle. Victim shot at close range with a .40 caliber gun. Amount of time elapsed before the wife reported the crime sufficient for her to hide evidence. Was Sydney Green a grieving widow in need of help or one hell of an actress?

Still unsure whether or not to tell her about the transplant or to go in undercover, he watched her pull away. He gripped the steering wheel, his mind cluttered with questions. Some small spark of awareness, an aching familiarity streaked through him, making him shift uncomfortably in his seat. She looked fragile, and he could imagine the kind of interrogation they'd put her through — the kind he would have put her through himself.

He started his Bronco and began to follow her at a safe distance. She wound through the streets of the quaint South Carolina town and crossed the bridge over the inlet, then eventually turned onto a graveled driveway that led to a small, white-clapboard church. He drove past the driveway, then parked at the side of the road and killed the engine. He watched her climb out of her car and pick her way across the weed-filled graveyard beside the church.

Faded plastic flowers filled chipped cemetery vases while other vases sat empty. His uneasiness grew. If he'd died, instead of being blinded, would anyone have brought flowers to his grave? He felt a momentary longing for someone to love and love him back, but he shrugged it off. Cops were loners. He'd always lived alone. He always would.

A light sprinkling of rain dotted his windshield. He pulled a pair of binoculars from his dash and rolled down his window. He watched her push the damp tresses of her hair away from her face, saw her tears mingle with the raindrops as she knelt at the tombstone. She was talking to the grave. A creepy feeling crawled up his spine, and an urge to go to her tightened his gut.

He climbed silently from his car, telling himself he would only go close enough to hear what she was saying.

Stuffing his hands in the pockets of his faded jeans, he walked toward her. Sobs racked her body now.

Emotions bombarded him. No one could stand by and witness such misery without feeling sympathetic.

"'Doug, why did you lie to me?'' he heard her whisper. He hesitated at her comment, but unable to stop himself, he approached her slowly and laid a hand gently on her shoulder. She jerked and turned to stare at him, her reddened eyes wide with a mixture of fear, hurt, surprise.

"'Who are you?'' she choked out, quickly standing and putting some distance between them.

Collin released a strained breath, pausing when her gaze locked with his. He slowly peeled off his dark glasses, and something strange, surreal, passed between them, connecting them in a way he couldn't explain. It was almost as if she recognized him. Then wariness darkened her expression.

"'I asked you who you are,'' she said in a shaky voice.

"'My name is Collin Cash.'' He extended his hand and she simply stared at it, biting her lip. "'I'm truly sorry for your loss,'' he said quietly. He'd frightened her. A twinge of guilt inched into his conscience.

She rejected his outstretched hand, so he dropped it and took a step back. She, too, retreated another step as if she was about to run, but a beige sedan pulled into the parking lot and an elderly couple climbed out, and she relaxed slightly.

Her skin glowed in the dimming light, looked smooth and silky soft. Raindrops clung to her eyelashes and hair. A tingle of awareness he didn't want to admit to raced through him. Even in grief, Sydney Green was a strikingly beautiful woman. Porcelain skin, hair like an ebony curtain, eyes a misty blue.

"'I'm sorry about your husband's death.'"

Her eyes momentarily filled with renewed tears and he felt his gut clench. Should he tell her the truth?

"'I gather you knew Doug,'' she said, her gaze raking over him in an uncomfortable way. A suspicious, cautious way, he realized, wondering about the direction of her thoughts.

"'We had a mutual business acquaintance,'' he hedged.

"'You weren't at the funeral?'"

"'No. I just arrived in town and wanted to pay my respects. I've been in the hospital...'' He let his explanation fade into silence. "'Is there anything I can do for you?'"

Distrust flashed into her expression. "'No thanks, I'm fine. I just need to be alone.'"

She didn't look fine. She looked vulnerable and sad, as if the last thing she needed was to be alone. He acknowledged her words with a slight nod. Maybe now wasn't the time to tell her the truth. It might come as too much of a shock. "'I'm going to be staying at the Beaufort Bedand- Breakfast. If there's any way I can help you, let me know.'"

Sydney retreated another step, hugging herself protectively. The elderly couple, having placed flowers on a nearby grave, walked past hand in hand.

"'Look, I have to go now.'' She lowered her head and focused on the soaked leather of her sandals, then hurried away.

"'I'll walk you to your car,'' he said, falling into step beside her.

"'I'd rather you didn't.'' She cast him an anxious glance and he realized she really was afraid, so he slowed his steps. Was she always this fearful around men, or had her husband's murder spooked her?

Excerpt from Her Eyewitness by Rita Herron
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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