He's an ex-cop. She's an ex-wife. And they're both out for revenge on the same man....
When pampered former cheerleader Feenie Malone takes a job writing fluff pieces for her South Texas paper, she has no idea she's about to stumble into a juicy news story that could launch her career -- if it doesn't get her killed first. Almost as soon as she breaks out her press pass, she crosses paths with Marco Juarez, the macho PI obsessed with solving his sister's murder. The information he has might be the perfect lead -- but his dangerously sexy looks could be a deadly distraction.
Juarez has zero patience for reporters, especially mouthy blond ones. But with the evidence pointing to Feenie's ex-husband, Marco thinks she could be useful. Confident he can keep her on a tight leash, he lets her in on his investigation. He quickly discovers he's underestimated his new partner, as well as the danger they both face. Now he must protect her -- to the very last breath....
This enticing debut novel from journalist Griffin follows Feenie Malone, a young part-time reporter at a south Texas town newspaper, struggling to make ends meet after her divorce. Hoping to get some respect in the newsroom, ambitious, independent Feenie begins pursuing a hot story involving her ex-husband and a felon, Rico Martinez, who appear to be in business together. Hunky, headstrong P.I. Marco Juarez offers to help Feenie investigate the criminal, but Juarez has his own agenda--namely, finding out who killed his sister, a cop, two years earlier. Though the strong leads' no-nonsense dialogue can wear early on, imminent danger and mutual attraction soften them nicely, giving this able suspense thriller a satisfyingly steamy core; Griffin's fully fleshed characters, dry humor and tight plotting make a fun read and a promising career kickoff. (Oct.)
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September 24, 2007
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Excerpt from One Last Breath by Laura Griffin
Two years later
Feenie stood in the middle of the vacant lot, straining to concentrate as the noonday sun blazed down on her. It wasn't the heat, really, that made concentration impossible, but the way the man next to her was peering down her shirt.
"That's Wolf, no e at the end," he said helpfully, leaning closer as she scribbled in her reporter's notebook.
Feenie stepped back, hoping he'd get the hint. "Thank you, Mr. Wolf. And you said you've been with Lansing Corporation how long?"
"Five years." He flashed his overwhitened teeth. "And I should tell you this development promises to be one of the most luxurious gated communities on the Gulf Coast. We've spared no amenities here."
The talking points were straight out of Lansing's media packet, and Feenie wondered why the PR department never bothered to tell employees to mix it up just a teensy bit so their quotes didn't sound so canned.
"This community will set a whole new standard for luxury retirement," he plunged on, reciting the press release verbatim. "We believe it's simply a question of when, not if, other developers will try and follow our lead. But of course, part of what we're offering is a spectacular waterfront view, and I should point out that properties like these are in limited supply now that the federal government has cracked down on development of coastal wetlands."
"I see," she said, taking notes. Wolf would be expecting her to write an article that would make people want to rush out and buy one of these expensive lots she was standing on. But she'd already been warned not to write a fluff piece, so as soon as she finished talking to this guy, she planned to place a few calls to the Army Corps of Engineers to see if she could get the other side of the story.
Feenie glanced up, and, no joke, Wolf was looking straight at her boobs. What a sleaze. She was beginning to understand why Mary Beth, her colleague at the Mayfield Gazette, had been so eager to drop this story on her desk. Mary Beth had claimed she'd had an emergency dentist appointment and couldn't make it to the interview, but Feenie now suspected the real emergency had been finding a way to avoid spending the afternoon with this creep.
Of course, even if Feenie had known the real reason she'd lucked into this assignment, she still would have come. It was an actual news story, slated for twelve inches of column space on page three. It was Feenie's first chance to write something besides obituaries and wedding announcements, and she couldn't afford not to leap on the opportunity.
Even if it meant spending the afternoon being ogled by a jerk with a fake-and-bake tan.
"Thank you for showing me around, Mr. Wolf. Looks like I've got everything I need here, and I really should be getting back to the office. It's been quite a pleasure meeting you."
She extended a hand, half expecting to get struck by lightning for uttering such a bald-faced lie.
"The pleasure's been mine," Wolf said, taking her hand and dropping his gaze again. This guy was unbelievable. And she wasn't even wearing anything remotely sexy today, just taupe slacks and a white button-down. If she ever had to interview Wolf again, she was definitely going with a turtleneck.
"Before you leave," Wolf said, still holding on to her hand, "I'd like to give you a better idea of the view we're talking about here."
She tugged her hand away, and he started walking toward a flight of wooden stairs leading up to an observation platform.
"I appreciate it, Mr. Wolf, but I really have to get back soon. My deadline -- "
"Oh, this will only take a minute," he said over his shoulder.
The observation deck was flanked by empty lots. But only about fifty yards away was Fisherman's Grill, a crowded waterfront restaurant. Surely Wolf wouldn't have the nerve to put any moves on her in front of the entire lunch crowd. She huffed out a breath and followed him up the stairs.
"From this vantage point, prospective buyers can see what a magnificent view they'll have when they invest in a Lansing home. Without exception, all our lots are designed for sunset vistas."
Feenie glanced at her watch -- another hint he probably wouldn't pick up on -- and then took a cursory look around. Sunlight glistened off the water, and a quartet of brown pelicans soared overhead. The view was nice, she had to admit. And the breeze fifteen feet up felt coolly refreshing. She moved the damp hair off her neck and immediately regretted the gesture. Now Wolf was staring at her with a smug look.
"I notice you don't wear a wedding ring. How's a pretty girl like you manage to stay single?"