Please help me welcome Kim Cox as a special guest in the Author Excerpt Eggschange feature that a number of authors are participating in. I am a guest on her blog today, so I hope you can hop over there after you read the excerpt from her romantic suspense, Suspicious Minds
Revenge, Betrayal, and Hidden Identity
In the city of Boston lies a story of revenge and hidden identity. Ryan Donatelli, posing as Thomas Randolph, sets out to avenge his sister’s death, even if it means using Sam Southard’s daughter to do it. After all, Ryan is sure Sam’s responsible.
Natalie Southard is determined to keep her family business out of the hands of known crime boss, Nick DeMarco. After her father is killed, Natalie and Ryan are forced to run for their lives. But, will they live long enough for their hearts to heal once everything is revealed?
“Is that her?” Detective Walsh asked, talking around the wad of gum in his mouth.
Ryan Donatelli tugged at the neck of his old football jersey while he looked everywhere but at the body on the steel examination table. The morgue walls were closing in on him. “I don’t know.” Even to him, his voice sounded tinny and far off. “Shelley’s small, but this woman seems much smaller. It’s hard to say.” The obvious resemblance struck him, but he looked for any reason he could to deny it.
“Dehydration from the burns,” the gray-haired coroner said. “It changes the facial appearance.”
Ryan glanced up and noticed the older man’s immense nose and his astonishing resemblance to the comedian and singer, Jimmy Durante.
The detective shrugged. “Well, if you can’t be sure, I guess we’ll just have to— Wait a minute! What about this?” Walsh removed a small envelope from his jacket pocket and extracted a plastic bag containing a necklace that had been tagged for evidence.
Ryan’s stomach spasmed. Acid scorched his throat. Every conscious thought screamed denial, yet his trembling hand reached for the bag. Under the fluorescent lights, the ruby pendant glowed like a hot ember. He squeezed it in his palm, trying to feel its pulsing warmth—like the warmth of Shelley’s smile.
Oh, God! It was as cold as the body on the table.
“You okay?” The detective’s voice was muffled.
Ryan wanted to laugh at the stupidity of the question, but at this moment, mirth was a foreign emotion to him.
With his index finger, he traced the outline of the small stone before turning it over to read the inscription he knew he would find. Unshed tears blurred his vision, but there it was. Happy B-day, Love, R.
“It’s Shelley,” he said and turned away. He could no longer deny the evident truth, or hang onto the tiniest thread of hope that this was a terrible mistake.
Sweet, stubborn Shelley, his baby sister. She’d never argue politics, movies or anything mundane as the weather again. Shelley loved to challenge him. She’d made him think in new ways and consider new options. What would he do without her?
…He sipped his drink, noticing her eyes shifting from one object to the other. The love seat and chair with its own ottoman matched the ivory couch. A blue-and-crimson oriental rug dominated the living room floor. Sheer white curtains covered the double glass doors leading to the dining room with a black lacquered table and chairs.
“Do you like the house?”
“Yes, it’s beautiful…lovely,” she said, touching his arm.
“Thank you, but I can’t take the credit. My mother redecorated it last year.” Ryan looked around as if viewing it for the first time himself.
“I’d love to meet your mother. She has exquisite taste.”
“I have to agree. Maybe one day you will. And, if you’re good, I may take you on the grand tour of the place.” Ryan’s face drifted close to hers. He found himself not wanting to carry on the conversation any longer. His mind was far from words at the moment.
Her black hair, like her eyes, sparkled in the light. His skin beneath the sleeve of his shirt burned where the tips of her fingers touched. She smelled like freshly cut gardenias from his grandmother’s greenhouse. Her voice sounded like an angel’s song.
All he thought of was kissing her. He wanted to taste her sensuous pink lips and hold her in his arms until she begged for more.
As if his thoughts scared her, she turned away.
“I-I’d be privileged to see it.”
Did she feel the electricity sparking between them, too? Did she hunger for him the way he hungered for her?
He felt her uncertainty as clearly he did his own. Finally, she looked at him, and he could see the passion burning in her green eyes, and knew it was mirrored by his own. The window behind Natalie flashed with light. Their gazes clashed as the weather outside changed to a darkened, cloud-studded night. Wind whipped the bay into a frenzy of waves that slammed onto the beach behind the house.
The rumbling of thunder startled Natalie and she jumped into his arms. Her breast pushed against his chest and his defenses crumbled. His mouth covered hers as a hungry moan escaped his lips. She wrapped her arms around him, returning his kiss. He’d imagined her kiss to be sweet and full of passion, and his imagination was right on target…
Kim Cox is an author of Paranormal, Mystery, Suspense and Romance. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her chain saw artist husband, their West Highland White Terriers–Scooter and Harley, and a Yorkie mix, Candi. Kim is published in novels, short stories and articles.
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