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Authors: Joyce Lamb

Cold Midnight

BOOK: Cold Midnight
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Table of Contents
Praise for the novels of Joyce Lamb
“Top-notch suspense . . . Believable characters in an action-packed plot will enthrall readers. Like Tami Hoag and Iris Johansen, Lamb weaves the textures of romance and suspense together in a satisfying read.”—
“This wonderfully written story is a must read for any fan of romantic suspense! Joyce Lamb is a master story-teller . . . Don’t miss out on one of the best novels ever written!”—
Romance Junkies
“Fast-paced suspense, full of twists and turns and nonstop action . . . To find out the many other fabulous nuances of this story, you’ll just have to go and grab yourself a copy!”—
“Page-turning suspense and a rewarding romance make for a riveting read.”—
“Captures readers’ interest from the opening pages.”

Romance Reviews Today
“Lamb is back with another tale of murder, treachery and intrigue . . . Makes for good suspense reading.”

Romantic Times
“Full of shocking twists and turns . . . A wonderful novel that achieves the perfect balance between the romance and the mystery.”—
“Lamb’s debut novel gets off to a fast and furious start . . .
Relative Strangers
is a rollicking ride full of blazing passion, nonstop suspense and heart-pounding action.”

“Intricate, transfixing and very intense, this is one thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Author Joyce Lamb makes an excellent debut with this true page-turner.” —
Romantic Times
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / August 2009
Copyright © 2009 by Joyce Lamb.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-1-101-10883-3
Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
BERKLEY® SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

For Mom.
You’re the absolute best.
Thank you to:
• Mike Becknell and Jim Royals for their cop expertise.
• Julie Snider, Shari Grace and Jennie Pollock for their help getting the word out.
• Tim Loehrke for being an awesome photographer.
• Diane Amos, Joan Goodman, Linda Cutillo, Maggie Hoye, Chantelle Mansfield, Kristann Montague, Karen Feldman McCracken, Chris Clay, Mary Clay, Charlene Gunnells, Ruth Chamberlain, Lisa Kiplinger and Lisa Hitt for brain-storming, reading, commenting and not rolling their eyes at me (much).
• Grace Morgan for her dogged determination (and Janet Chapman for introducing us).
• Wendy McCurdy and Allison Brandau for the BEST editing suggestions.
• And last but not least: All my friends and family who’ve always supported me in what sometimes seemed like an impossible dream. We did it! Woo hoo!
steered his SUV into the muddy parking lot of the construction site for McKays’ Tennis Center. He would have preferred to avoid this case like a bad sunburn, but he couldn’t
respond when it involved Kylie McKay, the woman he loved more than life before she walked out on him. As if Mother Nature shared his mood, lightning flashed against the backdrop of ominous dark clouds on the horizon.
Shoving bad memories out of his brain, he stepped out of the truck to the low rumble of distant thunder. His partner, Sam Hawkins, was talking to a group of four or five construction workers near a mobile home, so Chase headed in that direction.
The construction site was in the beginning stages of development. Freshly felled trees dotted the sandy dirt landscape. Two yellow, mud-caked earthmovers sat silent, as did a huge dump truck filled with tree branches and other debris. A chain-link fence with intermittent KEEP OUT signs surrounded it all.
His stride faltered when he saw her talking to another construction worker. She nodded at the man, her eyes shielded by sunglasses and her mouth set in a grim line. In red shorts, a white tank top and sneakers, and her long dark hair caught in a ponytail that shed curls around her face, she still looked every bit the professional tennis player: lithe, tan and toned.
His gaze locked momentarily on the black knee brace that extended from midcalf to midthigh, a harsh reminder of the violent and bloody assault that tore them apart ten years ago.
When dark rage boiled up inside him, he clenched one fist and looked away to see Sam striding toward him. His partner of five years looked rock solid as always, biceps and thighs bulging in a navy polo shirt and khaki slacks. A prematurely gray crew cut topped his heavy brow, making him look dangerous. Very few people messed with Sam.
“What have we got?” Chase asked.
“Maybe it’s best if you let me handle this one.”
“What have we got?” Chase repeated, his voice hard.
Sam hooked his thumbs in his belt and rolled his massive shoulders. “Construction worker found a bat.”
“As in baseball bat?”
“Kylie ID’d it as the one used to take out her knee.”
Chase couldn’t respond for a moment. Holy shit. Holy
. Unable to stop himself, he glanced in her direction. She’d just looked upon the weapon that two unknown assailants had used to shatter her dreams, and yet she chatted with the construction worker as if they discussed nothing more major than the impending storm. Her calm facade eerily mirrored the aftermath of the brutal attack, he realized. But she’d been in shock then, pale and hollow-eyed, disoriented from pain medication and spinning from endless talk of surgeries and physical rehabilitation . . . and no more competitive tennis.
He blinked and looked at his partner. “What?”
“You sure about this? I can take it from here, you know.”
“Like hell. This case has been cold for ten years.”
“Yeah, I know, and you’ve been itching for a reason to open it back up, and now you’ve got it. But there’s a major conflict of interest here.”
“I’ll be fine, Sam. Kylie and I have been over for a long time.”
“That was easier to buy when she lived on the other side of the country. She’s back now, and you’ve been wound way too tight ever since.”
“That’s bullshit—”
“Just let me handle it, Chase.”
Chase started to knead the back of his neck, where tension always settled into a giant, throbbing knot. Sam was right. He couldn’t possibly be objective on this. Not when the mere act of looking at her stirred up a maelstrom of contradictory emotions. Anger. Grief. Anger. Resentment. Loss. Christ, the anger, after all this time. “Fine. We’ll play it by ear.”
Sam rolled his eyes at the vague surrender but said nothing as they walked over to Kylie, where Sam extended his hand. “Hello, Miss McKay. Detective Sam Hawkins, Kendall Falls Police.”
She clasped his hand and gave him a perfunctory nod. “Detective.”
Sam gestured toward Chase. “You know my partner.”
She glanced at him, her eyes unreadable behind the sunglasses. “Chase,” she said, both her tone and expression neutral.
So incredibly poised, cold even, as if meeting a competitor before a career-changing match. Coach Daddy had trained her well.
She gestured to the construction worker beside her, a balding man with a deep tan and a small gut pooching out over the waistband of his faded jeans. “This is the foreman,” Kylie said. “Robert Arnold.”
BOOK: Cold Midnight
11.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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