Trained to protect, Meredith West had always been self-sufficient. That is, until she discovered she had a stalker. Suddenly, the tough, trained bodyguard was a damsel in distress--and too embarrassed to ask for help. Lucky for her, she didn't have to.
Under the guise of needing a vacation, disturbingly handsome investigator Chase McCall arrived in Cotter Creek, Oklahoma. The purpose of his trip was complex--and a conflict of interest given his sizzling reaction to Meredith. Not only did she need his protection, but she was also a potential link to solving his top-secret case--and the potential key to his happiness.
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April 30, 2007
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Excerpt from Safety in Numbers by Carla Cassidy
She felt it again, that creepy-crawly feeling at the nape of her neck, like somebody was staring at her. Meredith West sat up straighter in the booth and glanced around the cafe as a chill walked up her spine.
It was the usual lunch crowd, locals seated at booths and tables sharing conversation along with the Sunny Side Up Cafe fare. Nobody suspicious lurked in the corners to give her the odd feeling.
"What's wrong?" Savannah Clarion asked. Meredith flushed, feeling ridiculous but unable to dismiss the sense of unease that had struck her at odd times of the day and night for the past couple of weeks. "Nothing," she replied. "I guess I've just been a little on edge lately." There was no way she could explain to anyone the feeling she had of impending doom, of her life exploding out of control.
"Gee, I wonder why?" Savannah smiled wryly, the gesture causing her freckles to dance impishly across her nose. "It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that we've just uncovered a huge ugly conspiracy right here in Cotter Creek, would it?"
As usual, Savannah didn't wait for a reply, but continued, "Everyone is more than a little on edge lately. I can't wait until those FBI agents wipe these dusty streets with the bad guys' behinds ."
Meredith laughed and smiled at the red-haired woman across from her. How nice it was that her brother Joshua had fallen in love with Savannah, who was Meredith's best friend.
The strange sensation that had momentarily gripped Meredith eased somewhat. She picked up a fry and dragged it through a pool of ketchup, then popped it into her mouth and chewed thoughtfully.
Maybe it was all the craziness in the town that had her feeling so off center. It had only been a couple of weeks since Savannah had almost been killed after discovering that somebody was working with a corporation to buy up as much of Cotter Creek, Oklahoma, land as possible.
The MoTwin Corporation had conspired to obtain the land to create a community of luxury condominiums and town houses. With the help of Joshua, Savannah had uncovered a plot that involved the murders of half a dozen local ranchers.
The investigation was being taken out of the hands of local law enforcement and the FBI was now conducting the case.
Meredith frowned. "I can't believe they only sent two agents ."
Savannah shrugged. "I don't care how many there are as long as they get the job done ."
Meredith smiled. "Have you seen them yet? They're sure not going for subtlety with their suits and ties. They look as much out of place as a palm tree would look growing out of our stables ."
Savannah leaned back in the booth and eyed Meredith. "I see you've been cutting your hair again ."
Meredith raised a hand to her bangs and touched them self-consciously. "I just did a little trim ."
Savannah laughed. "What did you use? A buzz saw?"
"There are times I don't find you half as amusing as you find yourself ."
Savannah laughed again, then sobered. "I don't know why you don't take time to go to the Curl Palace and get one of the ladies to give you a real haircut and style ."
Meredith stabbed another fry into her ketchup. "And why would I do that? I've got no reason to fancy myself up ."
"If you'd fancy yourself up just a little you'd have all the single men in Cotter Creek vying for your attention ."
"Half the men in town grew up thinking of me as a little sister, the other half were scared to death of my brothers. I don't want their attention. Just because you're madly in love with Joshua doesn't mean it's your job to see that I find a man. All I need right now is work ."
"Joshua has been complaining about how slow things are at Wild West Protective Services right now," Savannah said.
Meredith nodded. "Things have definitely been slow. It's been over a month since I've had an assignment ."
Wild West Protective Services was the family-owned business that provided bodyguard and protection services around the country.