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Lost Hearts #2
April 14, 2014
Available in: Audio, e-Book, Trade Size (reprint)
Almost Like Being in Love
New York Times author Christina Dodd’s bestselling romantic suspense series, Lost Hearts:
Mystery and misery scar their young lives. Three sisters and their foster brother are torn apart by tragedy and scattered across the country to grow up alone…
After Pepper Prescott witnesses a brutal murder, she’s forced to flee a vengeful killer, leaving behind her home, her business…and the identity she’s spent years cultivating. She seeks shelter in the only place she’s ever felt safe—the small mountain town of Diamond, Idaho. Diamond was where she had spent a year of high school in a loving foster home. And met the boy who captured her heart, and taught her body to love…only to be forced to leave him without a backward glance.
Her flight brings her face to face with Dan Graham again. His time in the Special Forces has left him wounded, body and soul. Like Pepper, he hides a dangerous secret that could get them both killed. Yet no matter what bitterness and anger has kept them apart, sweet, swift passion still brightly flares each time they touch. Can they learn to trust each other before murder and treachery finds them? Or is it too late for them both?
ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE is a full-length novel of 94,000 words/350 pages. Readers of Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz will enjoy the Romantic Suspense, ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE: Book #2 Lost Hearts.
Originally published June 2004 in mass market paperback for Pocket Books – this is an enhanced edition with bonus material that includes eighteen pages of new material with commentary by the author.
The second book in the Lost Hearts series tells the story of Pepper, the wild middle child of the Prescott family. When tragedy tore her away from her parents, her home and her siblings, she fought everyone who tried to help her and only now, as an adult, has come to a kind of peace with her loss and her past. But fate has destroyed her peace, and she flees to the one place she knows she will be safe…
Lieutenant Dan Graham didn’t sleep on the floor every night. Most nights he slept in a bed like a normal person. But sometimes, when the moon was full and the ghosts came to visit, he found himself stretched out against the wall in the living room, wrapped in blankets, sleeping as lightly as he had on those missions when every sound brought peril and death was only a breath away.
He didn’t worry about his tendency to wander the house at night. Restlessness was the price he paid for his years in the Army.
Besides, the last time he had slept on the floor, the temptation of an empty ranch house had proved too much for some of the kids from town, and they had tried to break in. When they discovered the house was not empty, which they did in a terrifying manner, they had run so hard they left scorch marks across old Mrs. Dreiss's lawn.
Dan had laughed quietly and gone back to bed.
Now the soft chime of his perimeter alarm woke him. He opened his eyes to a total lack of light; on a moonless night, the Idaho mountains defined dark. A quick check to the intruder panel confirmed that something large had broken the laser beam that cut across the gravel road as it wound past the barn. Typically a deer did the damage, and sometimes a bear blundered down from the mountains.
But it was after midnight, and only during a full moon did those animals wander at night to feed.
Rising from his make-shift bed, he donned his jeans, tucked his small Beretta 9mm pistol into the back of his waistband, and wondered — was this it? Was this the moment he’d been waiting for? Had they found him at last?
Light, firm footsteps climbed the stairs to the wide, wooden porch. A woman’s footsteps.
Women were usually less dangerous than men. Usually. But he didn’t make the mistake of assuming they all were.
The front door knob rattled, but when it didn’t open, she walked on the porch around the corner of the house.
Adrenalin flowed in his veins, but he controlled it, let it burn around the wounds on his face and belly. He took a deep breath, scented with the need for revenge. For justice.
He followed the footsteps toward the kitchen at the back. He saw no glint of light through the lacy curtains, so she didn’t carry a flashlight, and he waited for her to trip on the porch swing.
Without hesitation, she moved around it. Either she wore night goggles, or she knew the layout of the Dreiss house.
Distantly he noted that, by the sound, she was wearing boots of some kind, and stepped as if she had no fear of discovery. Did she think the house was abandoned? Or had she come looking for him, anticipating a showdown?
No. Unlikely. The people who hunted him never played fair. They never showed their faces, never let their true selves be revealed.
So who was this intruder?
She stopped by the storage crate Mrs. Dreiss kept on the porch. He heard the snick of the rusty latch as she lifted the lid. She wouldn’t find anything in there to steal — and sure enough, she put the lid back down and walked on.
In the old-fashioned kitchen, the clock gave off a phosphorescent glow, giving him enough light to see the dim outline of the wooden table, the wood-burning stove, the high countertop … the window where the woman stopped. It was locked, of course, a simple slide lock, but she jiggled it as if she knew what she was doing. Before long, the slide squirmed free of its clasp and the window glided upward, the warped frame creaking all the way.
Fascinating. She knew the secrets of Mrs. Dreiss's home.
With a flick of the hand, she raised the window shade.
He let her get her leg through the opening, then her arms, her head and shoulders. As she straightened up, he tackled her, taking her down, rolling with her flailing body and coming out on top.
And immediately he knew her. Recognized her by her shape, her scent, by the memories that assaulted him.
“Pepper,” he said. “Pepper Prescott. I’ve been waiting for you.”
All three Lost Hearts books, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE, ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE and CLOSE TO YOU are now published in ebook with bonus material!
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