“He was in my bedroom.”
The cushion beside her sank and her balance shifted as George sat down. “I believe you.” He pulled both her hands between his and gently rubbed them.
His simple statement of faith in her sanity swept out the cobwebs of self-doubt and touched her bruised heart.
Curling her legs beneath her, Elise pushed herself up, looping her arms about George’s neck, knocking him into the back of the couch. “Thank you.”
He folded his arms around her, flattening one hand against her spine to anchor her to his body. He pushed aside the jacket’s collar and threaded his fingers into the short hair at her nape to massage the tension in her neck.
“You’re okay. You’re safe now. No one’s going to hurt you.”
USA TODAY bestselling author JULIE MILLER attributes her passion for writing romance to all those books she read growing up. When shyness and asthma kept her from becoming the action-adventure heroine she longed to be, Julie created stories in her head to keep herself entertained. Encouragement from her family to write down the feelings and ideas she couldn’t express became a love for the written word. She gets continued support from her fellow members of the Prairieland Romance Writers, where this teacher serves as the resident “grammar goddess.” Inspired by the likes of Agatha Christie and Encyclopedia Brown, Julie believes the only thing better than a good mystery is a good romance.
Born and raised in Missouri, this award-winning author now lives in Nebraska with her husband, son and an assortment of spoiled pets. To contact Julie or to learn more about her books, write to PO Box 5162, Grand Island, NE 68802-5162, USA or check out her website and monthly newsletter at www.juliemiller.org.
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To Pam Jones-Hamblin and Jenny Simons—two sisters who compete to see who can read my books first. Too much fun!
And what a lovely compliment.
I’m happy to be a part of the competition.
“Elise? I need—”
“Right here.” As soon as the lacquered black door between their offices opened, Elise Brown was on her feet, carrying the file from the corner of her desk over to her boss, KCPD Deputy Commissioner George Madigan. “Crime rate statistics for the downtown area over the past three years. I also checked the Farmers’ Almanac for the last time Kansas City had record temperatures like this and forwarded stats on the dramatic rise in reported crime incidents for that summer to your laptop. I pulled up similar stats on the increased number of 9-1-1 calls during power outages.”
“And my dinner—?”
“Done. I called the restaurant and moved your reservation this evening back to eight o’clock. Your appointment will meet you there.”
George’s firm mouth cocked into a wry grin, deepening the lines beside his steel-gray eyes as he opened the folder. “You might at least let me finish asking my questions before you hand over the answers.”
George Madigan didn’t ask—he gave orders—but Elise didn’t mind. She tipped her face up to his and smiled. “Just being indispensable.”
“That you are. I swear you could do this job without me. But I wouldn’t manage the other way around. Thanks.” He dropped his gaze to the information he held, thumbing through the pages, already engrossed in his work.
Elise smiled at the crown of his dark brown hair. It was short and thick and peppered with shots of silver that only added to the mature air of masculinity that oozed from every pore. Not that she cared one whit about how the man looked or what he oozed. All she cared about was this job and the way George valued her as a trusted associate.
There were no miscommunications when her boss spoke. No flirty double entendres she had to evaluate and dodge. No favors or blackmail or anything that could leave her feeling like a fool for not clearly understanding what was being asked of her.
She appreciated the mutual respect in their working relationship, and had no intention of muddying the waters by wishing there might be a little more charm to his authoritative demeanor or wondering how a full-blown smile or belly laugh might soften the life experience sculpted into his angular features.
The deputy commissioner and KCPD had taken a chance on her when her confidence had been so close to rock bottom that she wasn’t sure she even deserved a job in the corporate world again. Working as an executive assistant for one of the top administrators in the department, she was rebuilding the self-assurance that had been shredded at her last full-time position. Fixing her bruised heart and shattered trust in men were projects for another day. For her, the job was enough. It was everything. It had to be.
“This is good stuff,” George praised. “These numbers should help make my case for allocating more funds.”
“You hired me to be knowledgeable, efficient and to anticipate your needs.”