Someone is trying to take everything from widowed mother Fiona Fitzgerald Cobb. Their method? Fires, like the one that left her little boy fatherless--and destroyed Fiona's dreams--two years earlier. Could the attacks be linked? Fitzgerald Bay firefighter Hunter Reece vows to keep Fiona and her son safe. He wasn't able to save her husband--his best friend. This time, he won't let Fiona down. Especially since the handsome man she's known all her life has a secret...one that will make him risk everything to save her.
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Harlequin Enterprises, Limited
April 01, 2012
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from The Widow's Protector by Stephanie Newton
Fiona Cobb sliced open a box of books in the storage room of The Reading Nook. This was the last box, and by the clock on the wall, she had exactly twelve minutes before she had to leave to get her son to school.
Thankfully, Betsie, who owned the Sweet Shoppe two doors down, had stopped by half an hour ago to see if Sean wanted to taste test her new cinnamon rolls. Her son had bounced out of the storeroom after Betsie with a constant stream of conversation, their two dark heads nearly touching as he pulled Betsie close for a six-year-old secret. Quite the lady's man, her Sean. Fiona shuddered as she imagined what life would be like at sixteen.
Ah, well, with four brothers--three of them cops--and a passel of cousins who were firefighters, she had plenty of experience with alpha males.
Fiona loaded her arms with the stack of books on gardening in preparation for the Happy Diggers Club meeting. In April in Fitzgerald Bay, everyone's mind would be turning to spring flowers, even if they were still buttoning up their winter coats in the early morning hours.
In fact, someone nearby must be burning a fire this morning to take the chill off. She carried the books to the round display table near the front window. The Happy Diggers tended to be early and she wanted them to have plenty of books to browse through...and buy on their way out.
She glanced at her watch. Betsie had saved her skin again. Five minutes until she had to pick up Sean to walk him to school. Maybe enough time for one more stack of books?
If possible, the smell was even stronger back here in the storeroom. Most people loved a fire, but for Fee, a burning fire wasn't cheerful and the aroma of smoke wasn't reassuring. All it did was remind her of what she'd lost. A husband, Sean's daddy, a happy united family.
She looked up. A curl of smoke came through the vent in the ceiling. For a few seconds, she stared at it, frozen.
Smoke in the vent meant fire--not the warm your hands kind of fire, but real life-stealing fire.
Fiona grabbed her cell phone, pressing the numbers 9-1-1. She ran out the back door, looking both ways down the back alley. Smoke poured through the seams of the building over the Sweet Shoppe. She ran down the alley, toward the back door. Oh, dear God, please, not again. Please.
"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"
"Fire. At the Sweet Shoppe on Main Street. I think there are people trapped inside." More smoke swirled in the alley behind the confectionery as she hung up the phone.
"Sean!" She pounded on the door. She couldn't hear anything. "Betsie!"
A faint yell came from inside. Oh, God, no. They were still in there. She reached for the door handle. It wasn't hot, but the door wouldn't budge. She pulled again, putting her foot against the wall on the other side. It wasn't moving. "Betsie!"
Her phone rang in her hand. She fumbled it, nearly dropping the handset before she answered it.
"Fiona! There's something jamming the lock. And there's fire blocking our way to the front door." Bet-sie's voice was calm for Sean, but there was the edge of panic lacing it. Fiona saw Hunter Reece's familiar old navy blue truck slam to a stop down the street and in the distance, finally, she could hear sirens.
She looked at the solid wood door. Even if she had the tools, she wouldn't be able to get it open in time. The small storage room window was their only option.
"Bets, open the window. If it's painted shut, find something that you can break it with. I'm going to get something to stand on." Fiona looked around the...