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Authors: Barbara Freethy

Tags: #Romance

LS02 - Lightning Lingers

BOOK: LS02 - Lightning Lingers
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Lightning Lingers

(Lightning Strikes Trilogy #2)



Barbara Freethy

Also Available

Lightning Strikes Series

Beautiful Storm

Lightning Lingers (#2)

Summer Rain (#3),
Coming Soon!


The Callaway Series

On A Night Like This

So This Is Love

Falling For A Stranger

Between Now and Forever

Nobody But You
(A Callaway Wedding Novella)

All A Heart Needs

That Summer Night

When Shadows Fall

Somewhere Only We Know

If I Didn’t Know Better

Tender Is The Night (#10)
Coming Soon!



(Lightning Strikes Trilogy #2)


From #1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy comes the second book in a new romantic suspense trilogy: Lightning Strikes. In these connected novels, lightning leads to love, danger, and the unraveling of long-buried secrets that will change not only the past but also the future…


Katherine Barrett, a dedicated young doctor, receives a terrified phone call from her brother, TJ. He is running away to Mexico to save himself and their family from an unnamed killer. He warns her not to come after him and not to go to the police, as there is no one she can trust. But Katherine realizes there might be someone she can trust…


She turns to her former high school sweetheart Jake Monroe—the man whose heart she broke a decade earlier. Katherine asks Jake to fly her into a remote and dangerous part of Mexico where no one else dares to go.


Jake had always thought that one day Katherine would realize she needed him, but he didn't expect it to go down this way. Still, he can't resist the beautiful blonde he has never been able to forget.


They set off on an adventure that will take them into the past, unravel a decade of secrets, and lead them into the heart of a lightning storm that will change the way they look at their families, the world, and each other…


Also Available in the Lightning Strikes Trilogy:

Beautiful Storm

Lightning Lingers (#2)

Summer Rain (#3)
Coming Soon!



(Lightning Strikes Trilogy #2)

© Copyright 2016 Barbara Freethy

All Rights Reserved (V1)

ISBN: 9781943781065


No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


For information
[email protected]

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She didn't like storms, especially not on Halloween. But the shiver that ran down Katherine Barrett's spine as she stepped onto the roof of Houston's St. John's Hospital at eleven o'clock at night had as much to do with painful memories of the past as it did with the storm clouds gathering overhead.

There was nothing to be afraid of tonight, and her sense of foreboding was misplaced, she told herself forcefully. Even the ER had been quiet; only a sprained ankle, a broken arm, and a stomachache from too much candy. No one had gotten hurt.

No one had died.

Her stomach twisted painfully at the memory of another Halloween a very long time ago. In her head, she could still feel herself tripping over the long skirt of her costume as she ran through the streets with her friends. They'd gone farther than they were supposed to that night. She'd known it then, but she hadn't stopped. She'd never imagined anything bad could happen.

Shaking her head, she told herself to stop going back in time, focus on the present and not the past.

Today was a celebration, an end of one very long chapter in her life and the beginning of a new one. Eleven years of medical training had come to a finish with her last shift as a medical resident. She was twenty-nine years old and more than ready to start her career as a doctor. She'd thought medical school was difficult, but the past three years as a resident had been brutal. She'd worked eighty-hour weeks, and sometimes she'd been so tired she couldn't remember what day it was. Through it all, she was supposed to be at the top of her game, and for the most part she had been at the top, because she'd given up everything else in her life—friends, family, hobbies—in pursuit of her goal. She'd climbed a mountain, she'd made it, but the hollow in her heart reminded her that she was alone.

Had it been worth it?

Frowning, she couldn't believe she was even contemplating the fact that all the time and dedication
been worth it. She was just exhausted. Tomorrow, she'd feel the exhilaration that she couldn't quite seem to find at this moment. Tomorrow, Halloween would be over, and she'd be done with that painful memory, too.

She reached for the locket she'd put on for her last shift. She didn't usually wear it on duty, but tonight it had felt appropriate. She unclasped the necklace and opened the locket to look at the smiling face of Hailey Peters, a beautiful, freckled redhead with a big smile—her face forever captured at twelve years old.

"I did it, Hailey," she murmured. "I'm a doctor."

For a moment, she thought she could hear Hailey's voice saying
I knew you could
. She smiled at the foolish thought, but silently offered up a
thank you
, knowing that Hailey's voice had gotten her through a lot of tough moments in her life.

However, it was another voice that drew her head around. Josie Holt, a fellow resident, walked over to join her. Josie was a gregarious brunette who seemed able to maintain her happy nature no matter the circumstances. She'd also just finished her last day of residency.

Katherine slipped the locket into her pocket as Josie handed her a beer.

"This should be champagne, but we're not making real doctor money yet, so I settled for beer," Josie said with a grin.

"It's perfect."

Josie raised her bottle. "Here's to us, to a new beginning."

"To us," Katherine echoed, as they clinked their bottles together.

"Can you believe we actually made it?" Josie added, taking a swig of beer. "No more eighteen-hour shifts, no more working every holiday and every weekend, no more taking orders from Dr. Horrible."

Katherine smiled. Dr. Horrible was a nickname for Dr. Mark Hutchinson, the brilliant but rigid physician who had terrorized them for the past year. "Would it sound traitorous if I said I think he might have made us better doctors?"

Josie made a face at her. "He might have taught us a few things, but he didn't have to be such an asshole about it. He hated all of us. Actually, he tolerated you, because you're so damn good. In fact, you're the most single-minded, determined person I've ever met. If you don't know something, you make it your mission in life to figure it out. I've learned a lot from you, Katherine."

"We've learned a lot from each other," she said, not completely comfortable with the compliment. Her single-minded focus might have been good for her career, but it had distanced her from everything and everyone else in her life. She'd left a lot of people behind on her way to this moment.

"So, have you decided which job offer to take?" Josie asked. "Are you going to stay here in Houston, go back to Corpus Christi, or will New York or Los Angeles be lucky enough to get you?"

"I haven't decided yet. What about you?"

"I'm going home to Connecticut to join my uncle's practice. He has a well-established and mostly insured patient base. With all my debt, how can I say no?"

Katherine shrugged. "Do you want to say no?"

"It's not as exciting as hospital work, but it will be nice to get to know my patients, not just meet someone in the middle of a health crisis, not just think of them as whatever part of them is broken or diseased."

Katherine nodded, but she didn't feel the same way Josie did. For her, it was easier to think of the problem than the patient. Emotions only got in the way.

"I'm going to miss this view." Josie waved her hand toward the downtown Houston skyline. "Texas has gotten into my heart."

The city was beautiful at night; the collection of lit-up architecturally magnificent skyscrapers had always been a nice distraction from the chaos of the ER. Katherine had come to this roof many a night when she needed a minute to breathe—not that she ever got much more than a minute—but the view had always calmed and inspired her.

But for her, the real Texas was wide-open spaces, empty highways that went on for miles, spectacular storms, and home in Corpus Christi.

"One thing I won't miss is rain and hail the size of baseballs," Josie added, putting out her hand as drops of rain began to fall. "Looks like another storm is on the way. Thank goodness it cleared up for the trick-or-treating. Fewer sopping wet children on Halloween means fewer kids coming in next week with colds and the flu. Not that we'll be here to deal with it."

"It's weird to think that we won't be." She wrapped her arms around her waist as the wind made her shiver again. "Maybe it's the storm making me feel so edgy." The words slipped past her lips before she could stop them. She didn't normally share her emotions or her mood with coworkers simply because it didn't matter how she felt, only how she performed at her job.

"Is that how you feel—edgy?" Josie tilted her head to the side, giving her a thoughtful look. "What's going on, Katherine? You should be happy. Today is the day of victory. We climbed Mount Everest, or at least our version of it, but you don't look very excited or relieved."

happy. I'm just too tired to celebrate, and I can't quite believe it's over. It hasn't really sunk in yet. I can't imagine what I'm going to do tomorrow when I wake up."

"Well, sleep in for one. Then come join me for a much-needed massage at the Serenity Spa."

"That is tempting."

"Then let yourself be tempted for once in your life. You don't always have to be responsible. We can talk about it over better drinks. David is meeting us at Harry's Bar in a half hour. You should come. He's going to buy us champagne."

"I don't want to be the third wheel on your date. Plus, it's Halloween. It will be crazy busy."

"So what? As you just said, you don't have anything to do tomorrow. David has a bunch of guy friends coming. You'll have fun, I promise."

Out of habit, she hesitated and then thought,
why not
? She'd turned down hundreds of invitations over the years. "All right. I'll meet you there. I'm just going to finish my beer and enjoy one last night on the roof."

"Really? You're going to get wet."

"It's barely drizzling." She'd spent so many hours of her life inside the hospital that she'd almost forgotten what it was like to be outside, to feel cold, to be out in the world.

"Well, don't take too long."

"I won't."

After Josie left, Katherine took a sip of her beer and then pulled her phone out of her pocket as it started to vibrate.

She frowned as she looked at her screen. The area code wasn't one she recognized, and it was late for a telemarketer. Hopefully, it wasn't one of her mom's caregivers on the phone. "Hello?"


"TJ?" Her brother's voice was muffled and scratchy. "What's wrong? Is it Mom?"

"No, it's me. I'm in trouble, Katherine."

"What's happened?"

"They're all dead. I didn't understand how they were all connected, but now I think I do."

"Who's dead?" she asked in alarm.

"Everyone. Jerry. Professor Bryer. Connie. They're all dead," he said forcefully. "And I'm going to be next. They already tried to get me once. I can't wait for them to try again."

"You're not making sense, TJ." The only name she'd recognized was Professor Bryer, the man TJ had worked under at the university, but he'd been murdered a year earlier, and she didn't think that had had anything to do with TJ. "What on earth is going on?"

BOOK: LS02 - Lightning Lingers
10.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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