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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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"A fast-moving and exciting story filled with romance, friendship and devastating reality."

Fresh Fiction Review

Hot On Her Heels
Susan Mallery

Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted October 22, 2009

Romance Series | Romance Contemporary

Titanville Police Deputy Dana Birch is entrusted with an unusual request from the three rich Titan sisters, who, she dearly loves. Their half-brother Garth Duncan, the illegitimate son of their father Jed, was abandoned along with his mother before he was born. At age 14, Garth begged his father to pay for brain tumor surgery for his mother, Karen, who's now left with her intellect stolen. Thrown out on his ear 20 years ago, Garth is now sinfully rich, successful and determined to destroy his father. Lexi, Skye and Izzy Titan are also being targeted by Garth to take revenge on Jed. Their tough, gun-toting best friend Dana is taking a leave from work to track down Garth in an effort to stop him.

While Dana pursues Garth in their cat-and-mouse game, she also ends up "sleeping with the enemy." Threats against Dana force her to temporarily move in with Garth for protection. Dana's sensual aftershocks are devastating and confusing since trust is difficult for her. She grew up in a poor family with a father who constantly beat her. As the sisters discover it was Jed rather than Garth who caused the explosion that nearly killed Izzy, they now want to include him as part of their family and convince him of their love.

Now it's the Titan sisters, Garth and Dana plotting to take down Jed. And Dana is terrified at having to walk away from Garth when her job is done. As evidence accumulates to convict Jed, all stakes change when Jed kidnaps Karen and the focus changes.

Susan Mallery has an astounding sense for developing an exciting and fast-moving plot. Her story is filled with love among friends and devastating reality. Dana and Garth are exceptionally smart and strong characters. The ending has surprises with a twist involving Karen and Jed. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it. Very good, fun reading.

Learn more about Hot On Her Heels


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...


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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