JoAnn Ross, one of the most passionate voices in contemporary romantic fiction, returns to the moss-draped splendor of Blue Bayou in a powerful novel of love and suspense, filled with characters you will never forget.
Julia Summers is in Blue Bayou, Louisiana, wrapping up her role on the sizzling soap opera River Road before jetting off to play the part of her dreams. But when she receives an all-too-real threat, her director saddles her with a no-nonsense FBI agent as protection. Free-spirited Julia figures she'll just use her feminine wiles to keep the handsome bodyguard out of her way.
Finn Callahan has no interest in baby-sitting a spoiled starlet, but he owes his brother, Blue Bayou's mayor, a favor. When danger closes in on Julia, Finn realizes that what he feels for her is much more than physical attraction. Now he'll willingly lay his life on the line for the woman who has shown him how beautiful life can be when it's filled with laughter and love.
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August 31, 2002
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Excerpt from River Road by JoAnn Ross
Finn Callahan hated bad guys, criminal lawyers, bureaucrats and cockroaches. At least the bad guys had provided him with a livelihood as an FBI Special Agent for the past thirteen years. Why the good Lord had created the other three remained one of those universal mysteries, like how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids or why it always rained right after you washed your truck.
"It's not like I killed the guy," he muttered. The way Finn saw it, a broken nose, some bruises and a few broken ribs didn't begin to equal the crimes that scumbag serial killer had committed.
"Only because two agents, a Maryland state trooper and a court-appointed shrink managed to pull you off him before you could," the woman behind the wide desk said. There was enough ice in her tone to coat Jupiter. Her black suit was unadorned; her champagne blond hair, cut nearly as short as his, barely reached the collar, and her jaw thrust toward him like a spear. Put her in dress blues and she could have appeared on a U.S. Marine recruiting poster.
"I've spent the past hour on the phone with Lawson's lead attorney. Unsurprisingly, he wants to file assault and battery charges. And that's just for starters. I'm attempting to convince him to allow us to handle the matter internally."
Unpolished fingernails, trimmed short as a nun's, tapped an irritated tattoo on the gleaming desktop.
Finn had no problem with women in the Bureau; he'd worked with several and would have trusted his life to them any day. Hell, even James Bond had gotten a woman boss when Judi Dench took over as M. Finn didn't even have any problem with ice queens like Special Agent in Charge Lillian Jansen.
He did, however, have a Herculean problem with any SAC who wasn't a stand-up guy. From the day she'd arrived from the New York field office, Jansen had proven herself to be far more interested in the politics of the job than in locking up criminals.
"It's a helluva thing when an SAC takes the side of a sicko killer over one of her own men," he muttered.
"Christ, Callahan," the other man in the office warned. James Burke's ruddy cheeks were the hue of ripe cherries, suggesting that Finn's recent behavior hadn't been good for his blood pressure problem. A faint white ring around his mouth was evidence he'd been chugging Maalox directly from the bottle again.
"You're out of line, Special Agent," Jansen snapped. "Again."