Kaycee Connor was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong man. Listening to her date being assassinated as she hid in his safe room, she would never forget the chilling words that had come from the killer's lips.
Assigned to investigate the brutal crime, Police Detective Daniel Gallagher took one look at Kaycee and lost his heart. Trembling, terrified, her eyes filled with hurt, she made Danny feel things he had thought died long ago. Wanting to protect her, to keep her out of harm's way, he'll do whatever it takes to shield her from danger even if it means going up against a powerful crime family.
Hot passion brews like a hurricane along the Georgia coast as Danny and Kaycee weather the storm of desire flooding through their bodies. While the flashing lightning, lashing winds and driving rain whip their yearning to fever pitch, a treacherous enemy lies in wait to blow the lovers apart.
Reader Advisory: Story includes a non-consensual male/male scene. However, while the scene is non-detailed, the post-emotional aspects are shared with the reader.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from In the Arms of the Wind by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
"Good morning," he said, smiling.
"Morning," she mumbled, and put one bare foot atop the other.
"I came by to check on you."
"Oh." She couldn't think of anything to say and felt tongue-tied.
"May I come in or is it too early?" He groaned lightly. "Did I get you out of bed? I'm sorry."
Kaycee blinked. "No!" she replied. "I mean, yes, I was in bed, but I wasn't sleeping." She opened the door and unhooked the latch on the screen. "I didn't sleep last night."
His smile returned. "I wish I'd known that. We could have kept each other company."
She pushed the screen door open. "You didn't sleep either?" She stepped back to allow him to enter.
"Too much paperwork and far too much caffeine," he said. "Steak and eggs at four in the morning doesn't make it easy for you to sleep. It kinda sits in your belly like a rock."
Kaycee felt very small as he walked past her and into the living room. He was a good foot taller than her. He was dressed in a polo shirt that stretched across his broad chest like a second skin and the faded blue jeans hugged him tightly. His sneakers had seen better days, but she would stake money on them being his favorite pair.
"Nice desk," he said of the antique rolltop sitting between the two front windows.
"It's my pride and joy. Please, sit down," she said. She left the front door open and followed him. When he took a seat in one of the two chairs flanking her sofa, she offered him coffee.
His dark gaze locked onto hers. "Can I take a rain check on the coffee?" he asked in a deep, sensual voice she was beginning to love. "I'm sloshing now when I walk."
She grinned. "My mother used to say that," she said, and sat down on the sofa, tucking her legs beneath her.
He was sitting with his elbows braced on his knees, fingers entwined and he gave her a level look. "How are you doing this morning? You said you didn't sleep."
"Nerves," she said, ducking her head, then thought of the black car and snapped it up again. "Oh, there was this car last evening. A black..."
"Two thousand seven BMW M6 convertible," he said. "That was me."
"Oh?" She was again at a loss for words. She just stared at him.
"I wanted to make sure you got home okay and kind of scope out the neighborhood."
"You think those men will come after me?" she asked, face suddenly pale.
"No," he was quick to tell her. "I really don't believe they will. They were without a doubt professional hitmen, Miss Connor, out-of-towners, and they're long gone by now."
"But if they find out about me..." Her bottom lip trembled.
"We are keeping your presence in the house out of the press and I would suggest you don't tell anyone you were with Gerring last evening either," he told her. "For your own protection."
"Do you have any idea why they would have murdered...?"
She snapped her head around and wanted to groan when she saw Mr. Phillips with his hands to either side of his face as he peeked through her screen.
"My neighbor," she mumbled, unfolded her legs and rose to her feet.
"Dear, there is a strange car parked in your driveway," Mr. Phillips told her when she reached the door. He was still trying to see into the house. "A very expensive car."
"Yes sir. It belongs to my visitor."
For once the old man didn't have his little dog with him and Kaycee knew he had come over to fish for information. If she invited him in, it would be hours before he'd take his leave.
"About that policeman last evening..." the elderly man began.
"That would have been me."
Kaycee felt a warm hand fall onto her shoulder as the detective came to stand beside her. His thumb began to stroke the nape of her neck in an intimate way that sent shivers down her spine.
Mr. Phillips arched a thin brow and it was obvious from the expression on his wrinkled face that he was trying to recall how the policeman from the night before had looked.
Drawing Kaycee against his side, the detective put his free hand on the doorjamb, standing there as though it was his house and not hers. "We look different in uniform, don't we?"
"Indeed," Mr. Phillips agreed, and seemed to relax. "I hope nothing is wrong."
"You asked me last night if a beau shouldn't bring his lady home after an evening out."
Kaycee turned a surprised look to the man beside her.
"He did bring her home, Mr. Phillips, and he's visiting her again this morning." He playfully squeezed her. "I can't seem to get enough of this woman's company."
The old man looked down his nose at Danny. "Well, young man, it doesn't look good to bring her home in a police vehicle." He lowered his voice. "Causes the neighbors to talk, you know."
"I was called into work while we were out last evening and had to cut our date short. I changed clothes at the station then brought my pretty lady home before going on to the crime scene." He leaned over and placed a soft kiss on the top of Kaycee's head. "And I would not take kindly to anyone who would spread gossip about my lady." The softness left his voice and a hard edge entered. "I'm sure you understand how protective cops are of their women."
Mr. Phillips took a step back, his wizened eyes wide. "Well, yes, I'm sure," he said. He nodded to Kaycee. "It's good to know you're in safe hands, Kaycee." His gaze shifted for a moment to the man beside her. "Nice meeting you, ah...?"
"Danny. Danny Gallagher." He changed his position so that he was behind Kaycee and wrapped his arms around her. "As of Monday morning, it will be Detective Gallagher, homicide." He dropped his chin to the top of Kaycee's head. "In case you feel the need to call in and check to make sure I'm who I say I am."
"Ah no! Of course there's no need for that!" Mr. Phillips insisted. He spun around and hurried down the three steps to the sidewalk, waving a hand behind him. "I will talk to you later, Kaycee!"
Kaycee watched the old man scurrying away like a mouse with a cat on its trail. She felt her visitor's arms leave her and she turned to look up at him. "How did you know...?"
"I read Officer Reynolds' report this morning. There was a comment about the nosy neighbor."
"But how did you know he didn't know who I had gone out with last evening?" she asked.
He smiled. "I don't think you're the type of woman to hand out personal information to the neighborhood gossip," he answered.
"I'm not, but now he'll tell everyone that I'm dating a policeman and..."
"No," he countered, thrusting his hands into the pockets of his worn jeans. "He'll tell everyone that you are dating a homicide detective and he won't be wrong."
Kaycee's lips parted. "I beg your pardon?"