He was a father?A DNA test revealed that Mason Grant had a nine-year-old daughter. He'd had no idea that the woman he'd loved and so tragically lost had been pregnant. Or that his own child had been in the custody of the woman's murderer all these years. Now the killer wanted Mason to pay--in more ways than one-- for the return of the girl. And for daring to find love with old friend Jennifer Pappas. But the only payback the cold-blooded murderer would get was final justice.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 09, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Final Justice by Marta Perry
Magnolia College's ten-year reunion was in full swing on a warm southern evening. Jennifer Pappas stood alone near the French doors that opened to the terrace, wondering what on earth had made her agree to come.
The Mossy Oak Inn on the edge of the college campus prided itself on elegant service, and the staff had outdone itself tonight. Discreet waiters circulated with trays of hors d'oeuvres, while a string combo played a delicate counterpoint to the reliving of college memories. The scent of roses mingled with that of expensive perfume, almost dizzying in its impact.
She took an automatic step back from the exuberant greetings going on between two women who'd just, apparently, found each other after ten years and were determined to catch up on everything that had happened since.
That was what she feared the most tonight--that seemingly innocuous question: What have you been doing since graduation?
How do I answer that, Father? She sought refuge in prayer, as she always did, focusing inward and shutting out the clamor of insistent voices rising above the chamber music. How could I talk about the day-care center I ran in Syracuse without mentioning how it ended?
A shudder touched her heart, and she steeled herself against the memories, locking them away. She wouldn't dwell on the past. She'd started a new life. That was what this was all about, wasn't it?
But she'd been back in Magnolia Falls for over a month now, and she still hadn't found her balance. She was beginning to wonder if she ever would.
Her gaze fell upon Steff Kessler, a fellow class member who was now the alumni director for Magnolia College. Steff had seemed eager to renew their college friendship, but even with Steff, she'd held back. How did you explain to anyone, let alone a friend, what it was like being arrested, charged, fingerprinted?
No one here knew the truth except for Pastor Rogers and her father. Dad kept insisting her life would be easier once she'd confided in a few friends, but she couldn't do that. She couldn't bear the possibility that they'd look at her with contempt.
The French door moved behind her, and someone stepped through. She turned, startled, and found herself face-to-face with Mason Grant.
"Mason." Her heart twisted. Once she'd considered Mason one of her closest friends. Then, quite suddenly in the middle of their senior year, he'd shut her out, along with everyone else he'd been close to.
According to Steff, that was still the case. Steff hadn't expected him to show up tonight, even though he still lived in Magnolia Falls.
"Jennifer Pappas." He looked as startled as she felt. "I haven't seen you since--well, since graduation."
"Ten years." She managed a smile. "How many times do you suppose those words have been said tonight?"
That brought an answering smile to his face. "Too many, I suppose. And they're still at it." He glanced at the noisy crowd, seeming to search for familiar faces, giving her a moment to take a quick look at him.
Her first thought was that he hadn't changed. Tall, lean, he still had the sinewy build of a basketball player, evident even in the perfectly tailored tux he wore. He had regular features, dark blond hair that was always a little tousled despite his best efforts, hazel eyes--
And there she saw the difference.
Guarded. Once they'd been dancing eyes, but now they hid secrets. Maybe others would be fooled by the cheerful facade, but she recognized the expression. It was one she saw daily in her mirror.
What is it, Mason? What's changed you? What's put those lines around your eyes and given that wary set to your mouth?
That was not a question she could ask, since it was one she wouldn't answer herself.
He brought his attention back to her, his lips easing in a smile. "Actually, I heard that you were back in town."
"Probably at church." Mason's family had been longtime members of Magnolia Christian Church, although she hadn't seen him at services there since she'd been back. "Pastor Rogers has hired me to run the church nursery school. I'll also be doing the after-school program starting in September."
His gaze evaded hers. "I must have heard somewhere else. I haven't been at church lately. The stores keep me too busy for much of anything but work."
That would be the chain of sporting-goods stores Mason had inherited when his father died during their senior year. Anyone might use that as an excuse. But Mason looked lost and alone somehow, just for an instant, before he veiled the emotion with a bland, cool mask.