After seven years of agony, Linc Reece was certain he'd found his dead wife--alive and living in a tiny Tennessee town. He was sure Mia Grant was Lori, the wife he'd lost in an undercover case gone bad. Now the operative for the elite team of Equalizers had to prove it...even if he had to kidnap her.
Mia Grant saw the hope in Linc's eyes... but just because she liked vanilla, blues and old houses didn't make her his long-lost wife. Nothing about him was familiar, except the sizzle she felt when they touched. But when they discovered Lori's records destroyed and her photos stolen, even Mia knew someone had gone to great lengths to make her forget. And he'd do anything to ensure she never remembered....
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May 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Broken by Debra Webb
One more drink and he was out of here.
Lincoln Reece nodded to the bartender, an unspoken order for another of the same. He exhaled a lungful of relief that his latest assignment was successfully behind him.
There was no greater rush than the one that came with victim vindication. No one should be allowed to get away with taking advantage of little old ladies. Particularly not a man operating under the guise of the Good Book. The three elderly widows on whose behalf Linc had acted had gotten back the deeds to their homes, and the unsavory counterfeit minister who'd done the swindling was behind bars without bail, awaiting the next step toward prosecution.
The bartender left the glass on the counter and moved on to the next patron without missing a beat.
Linc took a long swallow as he turned on the bar-stool to watch the Friday-night crowd. Most nights he was not on assignment he was here. He liked it here at Hazel's House. The music was low enough for conversation, not that he ever talked to anyone. Best of all he could slide deep into oblivion and walk the three blocks to his rent-by-the-week room. No one cared who you were or what your deal was here in Hazel's House.
Unless you dogged out the Cubs or the Bulls.
A table overturned on the other side of the room. Shouting broke out as bodies collided and fists swung. Linc leaned back and propped his arms on the counter to watch the show. A woman hollered that she didn't belong to no man. Ah, the other reason the occasional brawl broke out in Hazel's House. Jealousy.
Bouncers swaggered over to clear up the debate. Linc rotated the stool, turning his back to the ruckus. He didn't need any trouble tonight. He was here to chill. The last time he'd let his old cop instincts guide him he'd spent the night in lockup. His boss had gotten the charges dropped within mere hours of Linc's call.
Slade Keaton, head of the Equalizers, had a seemingly endless supply of resources. Linc downed the rest of his bourbon. Keaton was a decent boss. Linc hadn't enjoyed anything about a job--and he'd had
several--or about life in general for seven years. Working as an Equalizer gave Linc the closest thing to satisfaction he'd experienced in that time. If you could call existing to work a sense of satisfaction.
Linc laughed, the sound little more than a growl in his throat. Not living... just existing. Sad. So sad.
"Thought I'd find you in a place like this."
Linc recoiled. What the hell? His bleary gaze cleared instantly. But his brain reacted a little more slowly. He blinked to banish what was no doubt an alcohol-induced hallucination.
The man laughed, near loudly enough to drown out the blues melting from the speakers mounted in the joint. "That's priceless." He leaned in close. "What's it been? Five years?"
Linc gave his head a mental shake as he looked at the man with the gray hair, matching scraggly beard and laser-beam blue eyes. Mort Fraley. Enough long-exiled memories abruptly bombarded Linc to leave him shell-shocked.
Anger rammed his gut. "How'd you find me?" Linc hadn't seen or spoken to anyone from his old life since he'd given up on the idea that she might still be alive. She. He couldn't even bear to think her name, much less say it out loud.
Mort slid onto the stool next to Linc. He raised a hand to the bartender, pointed to Linc's glass and held up two fingers before turning his attention back to Linc. "I can't believe you asked that question." His eyebrows reared upward. "I've been a cop for thirty years. Besides," he said as he picked up one of the two glasses the bartender dropped off,...