Brainy pharmaceutical research scientist Julia Alvarez is horrified when she discovers the body of her murdered colleague, shot by a mysterious assailant. Then she encounters Max Reilly, the bad-boy homicide detective who’s been assigned to the case.
Julia can't imagine that this sexy detective, the bad boy she admired from afar years ago, would ever be interested in a lady scientist. Despite his best intentions, Max finds himself drawn to Julia. Bad idea, he tells himself: Julia is the daughter of the mayor, an outspoken critic of the police department. What would a sheltered princess like Julia see in a blue-collar guy like him?
As they both try to find a killer, Julia and Max also discover an attraction as searing as the Phoenix sun, but can they find happiness with each other despite backgrounds that are worlds apart? Can they survive the danger when the killer targets them both?
Author Name: Laurie White
Cover Artist: Dawne Dominique
Word Count: 49865
Formats: HTML, PDF, LIT, EPUB, MOBI
From InD'Tale Magazine, March 2013 issue
Julia Alvarez is a scientist working on a cure for leukemia. When she exits the building one evening and discovers her colleague murdered beside his car she can’t believe what she sees. After the police arrive and start an investigation, she goes inside to the lab to see if she can find some clue as to the reason for his murder. However, when she opens the drawers in the filing cabinet they’re all empty. All the research is gone. Why? Max Reilly is Phoenix’s lead detective on the case. There’s more to this murder than meets the eye and he needs to get to the bottom of it before whoever murdered Greg Tanaka gets their hands on Julia Alvarez. His first case after being on medical leave for several months, Max needs to bring his A-game or Julia could pay the price.
This romantic suspense is well-written with a tight plot. The pace is fast with plenty of action and the suspense keeps one at the edge of their seat! The heat between the main characters is palpable and the mystery of who is orchestrating the whole thing keeps one guessing until the end. A delicious blend of romance and suspense, this is highly recommended for anyone who loves a little excitement along with the heat in their stories!
Julia rubbed the back of her damp neck. The sun had set a while ago, but the heat hadn't relented. She discreetly studied Max Reilly as he talked to people at the scene, took notes, and interacted with the shapely blonde who was obviously his partner.
Max had grown a couple of inches, to six-one or six-two she'd guess, and had put on a few pounds in the ten years since they'd graduated high school. His dark hair wasn't much different from what she remembered—shorter now, but still in an appealing, slightly shaggy style. In school she'd fantasized about running her fingers through his soft-looking locks.
As a teen he'd favored torn blue jeans and T-shirts. Now he wore a white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and a pair of navy trousers that hugged his trim waist and long legs. The police badge clipped to his belt shone in the glow from the parking lot lights. His strong presence made people take notice, and commanded respect.
Did he remember her at all? If so, he hadn't let on. She'd chosen not to say anything to him, at least not yet. It had been over ten years, after all, and he'd been Cortez High's bad boy while she'd been the studious geek hidden away in the library behind stacks of books. Why would he remember her?
Her throat tightened and her eyes burned as she watched the coroner's tech work on Greg's body and the crime scene techs scour the area. She fought another wave of nausea. A trusted friend and colleague was gone, and she couldn't imagine working without him—without his encouragement and support, without his wry, subtle humor that never failed to make her laugh. Who could have done this to such a kind, gentle man? And why?
Needing some quiet, Julia told Detective Phillips she was going inside to the ladies' room. In the lounge area, she sank down onto a padded chair and tried to think of words to comfort Greg's wife. Everything she came up with seemed inadequate. How would Kaori and her son ever get through this?
Julia splashed water on her face and then went back to the lab, drawn to the place where she and Greg had spent so many hours researching and working on their passion—a cure for leukemia. She crossed the room to the heavy-duty file cabinet, where they stored all their research notes and results, and unlocked it. Maybe Greg had left something in his own notes that would help explain what had happened. She opened the drawer—and gasped.
Oh, God. She checked the second drawer, and the next, and the next.
Heart racing, palms sweating, she accessed the lab computer. All the files had been wiped clean, and the backup disks nowhere to be found.
Fresh tears stung her eyes. "Oh, Mama, I'm so sorry," she whispered.
Had Greg taken the notes with him tonight for some reason? Was that why he'd insisted on locking the lab that evening, then meeting her outside? Or had someone forced him to open the safe and then taken the notes, killing him afterward? Greg was as dedicated to their research as she was. He would never willingly have jeopardized all those months of long hours, missed family dinners, and weekends in the lab…Would he?
Was it possible that a rival company had learned about their cancer research and decided to sabotage it, taking the results to use for themselves? The pharmaceutical business could be cutthroat, certainly, but…murder? That thought sent a shiver through her despite the sweltering summer temperature.
You're thinking crazy.
Yet, she couldn't seem to purge the thought from her mind as she recalled the press release issued from Wellner earlier that week. In the release, she and Greg had been credited with a breakthrough in cancer research. If Greg's death was somehow related to their research, was she—or even worse, her family and Greg's—also in danger?