Spending her days practically naked with gorgeous men should be easy. But for body double Tabitha Everheart it's a poor imitation of the real thing. Thanks to her short-lived, disastrous marriage, she's an independent woman.
Then a bullet shatters her apartment window and she's forced to admit she needs protection. Especially if it comes in the form of sexy cop Warren Vitalis, who takes his body-guarding duties very seriously.
Nights of mind-blowing sex with Warren stir urges Tabitha thought had been forever tamped down. This passionate man is arousing not only her libido, but her emotions as well. What they have together is hot--and very temporary. At least that's what she tells herself...
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February 28, 2007
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Excerpt from Just One Look by Joanne Rock
KEEPING A CLOSE REIN on his dog's leash, Warren Vitalis rounded the corner of Bank Street and Greenwich Avenue with the same wary alertness of any cop who'd been on the job for at least a decade. Around every bend lurked the possibility of danger, even for an off-duty de-tective out taking his mutt for a run.
"Hi, Warren." Two middle-aged men strolling down Bank Street arm in arm greeted Warren instead of any danger.
"You guys are done early," Warren shouted back as he sped past the partners who shared ownership of a res-taurant and an antique store on the route Warren and Buster ran every night. "Is business slow?"
"Bite your tongue, Detective," the slighter man--Scott--called back. "We just hired help to close up at night so we can turn in early. We're not the party boys we used to be."
Warren flashed a thumbs-up before gaining speed through a construction zone where the street was covered by a temporary wooden tunnel. Notorious places for crime, the passageways provided plenty of nooks for thieves to hide, but Buster didn't look worried. The Akida-German shepherd mix charged into the darkness with typical speed. Warren might not be on duty tonight and he wasn't in his own precinct, but he still considered this section of the West Village to be his beat since he lived a couple of blocks over. If he could provide a little extra safety for Scott and DeShaun, the restaurateurs, or for the handful of people who were out for a walk at 11:00 p.m., he felt a little more worthy of his badge.
Either that, or maybe riding a desk at the precinct for half his shift hours lately simply made him itchy to be back on the streets. His ballistics expertise had made for a fast career rise after a rough start, but it had also tied him to cold case files more often than he cared to remember. As rewarding as it might be to catch a perp roaming free ten years after the guy committed his crime, Warren missed the adrenaline rush that came with working cases in progress.
Slowing down at a shuffling noise between the scaf-folding posts inside the construction tunnel, he spotted a homeless guy catching a few z's on a length of card-board. Buster circled back to stand by Warren's legs, vigilant even when the threat level was low.
"Hey, Larry." In his twelve years on the force, Warren had learned you couldn't save every homeless guy on the street. That didn't stop him from at least recognizing them, since one of the biggest threats to a vagrant's already tenuous grip on their pride was fading from the public consciousness all together. If society refused to see these people, sooner or later they vanished.
There was a time in Warren's life where he'd identi-fied more than Larry would ever know.
Warren started to lean down to make sure the guy was still breathing at the same time Buster's ears straight-ened. A low growl started in the dog's throat, but the warning wasn't directed toward the drunk passed out with a bottle of Night Train still clutched in one hand. Buster's sudden wariness was focused at the far end of the construction tunnel.
Straightening, Warren listened to the night noises outside the thin plywood walls that housed the laborers from cold winter winds whipping past. Cars rushing by, tires clunking over maintenance hole covers, and the music from a nearby bar were all the usual sounds of this block.
Until a shot fired.