When Children's Connection nurse Alicia Juarez came to private investigator Scott Logan's door, she was desperate: Her brother was in jail for a crime she was convinced he didn't commit, and his two kids were left in her care.
Though he swore he wasn't much of a family man, something in the passion of the lovely woman begging him to help her got to Scott. And soon Alicia and the children became his priority in a way he never thought possible. He'd vowed never to get involved with a client. But his growing feelings for Alicia had him contemplating taking an altogether different kind of vow....
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May 01, 2007
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Excerpt from One Man's Family by Brenda Harlen
Scott Logan had things on his mind and a crick in his neck, both courtesy of having spent the better part of three days hunkered down in the front seat of an aging Ford Escort on an insurance fraud investigation. Despite the mental preoccupation and physical discomfort, he felt good about the successful completion of another assignment and satisfied that he'd done his job well.
His former colleagues couldn't understand why he'd walked away from the police force for this kind of work, and Scott didn't know how to explain that the job that had once meant everything to him had meant nothing after Freddie was killed.
His family, who had never comprehended his wanting to be a cop in the first place, understood his new job even less. Not that they criticized his choices so much as they were clearly baffled by them. In a family comprised of mostly whitecollar professionals, Scott had always been the odd man out.
You can do anything you want to do was Lawrence Logan's favorite mantra, and one which he repeated at every opportunity to each of his four sons. It was the kind of positive and nurturing approach he'd advocated in the self-help books that had brought him so much fame and fortune. His encouragement and support were genuine, his pride in his sons' accomplishments sincere.
He'd flown to New York to help LJ settle into his new apartment when his eldest son had accepted a position with a prestigious public relations firm, had been sitting in the front row when Ryan graduated with his architectural degree, and cried tears of joy when Jake was accepted to medical school. But when Scott announced his intention to go to the police academy, the renowned psychologist had just shaken his head--as he'd done frequently over the thirty years of his youngest son's life.
Scott hadn't been deterred by his father's lack of support because there had been no other options for him. He'd wanted only to be a cop--to uphold the laws, put the bad guys in jail and help make the world a safer place. Of course, when his partner was killed--gunned down in pursuit of an armed suspect who was later acquitted on a technicality--Scott's faith in the system was shaken.
He banished these disquieting memories to the back of his mind as he pushed open the door to Darlene's Diner. The bell tinkled, announcing his arrival, and Darlene herself glanced up from the counter she'd been wiping down to greet him with a smile.
"How are you, Darlene?"
"Hanging in," she told him. "How about you?"
"Desperately needing my daily dose of caffeine." She was already reaching for a large foam cup.
"You haven't been in the last few days."
"Assignment," he said simply.
She glanced up at him again as she filled the cup. "You been sleeping in your car again? You look like hell."
"I haven't been getting much sleep," he admitted.
"Regardless of where I spend my nights."
"You need a good woman, sugar. A reason to go home at night." She set the coffeepot back on the element and winked at him. "And lots of steamy hot sex that wears you out so good you can't help but sleep."
"Is that an invitation?"
Darlene threw back her head and laughed.
"Sugar, you wouldn't know what to do with me if I said yes."
"How will we ever know, if you don't give me a chance?"
She snapped a lid onto the cup and slid it across the counter to him as the bell tinkled over the door again and another customer entered.
"Because despite your broad shoulders and tough-cop scowl," she told him, "you've got a heart softer than the yolks of sunny-side up eggs, and I eat guys like you for breakfast."
He frowned at that. "You must be confusing me with someone else."
"Actually, I was thinkin' it was an appropriate--if somewhat bizarre--analogy," another female voice piped in from behind him.
Scott turned to see Aster Cooney, proprietor of the local salon and spa, slide onto a stool at the counter.