Click on image to enlarge.
by Lori Foster
Description: The Buckhorn Brothers: Casey As a teen, Emma Clark was the girl with the bad reputation--and trying to get Casey Hudson into bed hadn't helped! Not only was he the cutest guy in town, but he was also the only one who'd really seemed to care about her--so much so that the usually hot-blooded teen had resisted all her awkward advances. Now, eight years later, it's a different story.... Caught in the Act When a robbery goes bad, undercover cop Mick Dawson can't believe Delilah Piper (aka mystery writer Lela DeBraye) was just in the wrong place at the wrong time--and neither do the perps. The only way to protect her while he investigates what really happened is to stick with her 24/7--and try not to fall for the object of his investigation!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/HQN, 2007
eBookwise Release Date: September 2007
97 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [743 KB]
GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTIONS: Available to customers in: US, NZ, SG, TW, ER, GQ, LS, MG, MW, SD, SN, HM, MN, GD, JM, LT, SI, BY, FO, TR, PS, BM, AS, IO, SB, FK, SR, AF, FJ, CA, ES, PR, PH, BF, EG, KE, NG, RE, BV, TF, GE, KP, MV, PK, TL, BQ, HT, KN, CZ, CH, GI, IS, RS, SJ, BH, MH, NU, BO, AD, AL, AE, GF, MX, FR, IT, BE, CF, DZ, EH, GN, MA, MZ, SO, TD, TG, BT, KG, NP, VN, IM, AW, BB, CW, EE, LU, VA, IQ, QA, KI, PF, TK, AR, PE, AM, NI, KR, VI, UM, KM, MR, NA, NE, TN, TZ, KH, TJ, GG, LC, CY, FI, GR, HR, MD, JO, KW, OM, SY, YE, CC, FM, GT, MY, CD, CG, GA, ZA, ZM, ZW, MM, DM, GP, TT, VG, DK, HU, IE, LV, PT, SE, MC, ME, NO, IL, LB, GL, CK, GU, NR, PG, CL, GY, BL, BZ, DE, CN, BJ, CM, CV, GM, SH, UG, HK, UZ, GS, PN, SX, AT, AX, BG, MT, RO, BA, LI, MK, RU, PM, CX, PW, VU, CO, SV, UY, AU, BR, JP, BI, BW, CI, SL, BD, BN, ID, IN, LA, MO, TH, TM, MS, BS, CU, DO, MQ, TC, VC, PL, SM, UA, SA, TO, WF, HN, PY, NL, DJ, ET, GH, GW, LY, ML, MU, RW, ST, SZ, AZ, KZ, KY, MF, SK, JE, IR, MP, NC, NF, TV, WS, CR, EC, PA, VE, LK, AG, AI What's this
ENRAGED AND UNCERTAIN what he planned to do, Casey started forward. Before he reached Dell, Sawyer caught his arm and drew him up short. "Take it easy, Case."
Emma covered her mouth with a shaking hand, crying while trying not to cry, held tight by her father's grip even as she attempted to inch away from him. She wouldn't look at any of them, her narrow shoulders hunched in embarrassment—and possibly pain.
Casey's heart hurt, and his temper roiled. Emma's pretty brown eyes, usually so warm and sexy, were downcast, circled by ruined makeup and swollen from her tears. There was a bruise on her cheek, just visible in the glow of the porch light.
Casey felt tight enough to break as a kind of animal outrage that he'd never before experienced struggled to break free. Every night he'd thought about seeing Emma again, and every night he'd talked himself out of it.
Not once had he considered that he'd see her like this.
His vision nearly blurred as he heard Emma sniff and watched her wipe her eyes with a shaking hand.
With unnecessary roughness, her father shoved her forward and she stumbled across the wide porch before righting herself and turning her back to Casey. Without a word, she held on to the railing, staring out at the moonlit yard. Her broken breathing was audible over the night sounds of wind and crickets and rustling leaves.
"Do you know what your damn son did?" Dell demanded.
Casey felt Sawyer look at him but he ignored the unasked questions and instead went to Emma, taking her arm and pulling her close. It didn't matter why she was here; he wanted to hold her, to tell her it'd be all right.
Drawn into herself, Emma sidled away from him, whispering a broken apology again and again. She hugged her arms around herself. Casey realized the night was cool, and while Dell wore a jacket, Emma wore only a T-shirt and jeans, as if she'd been pulled away without having time to grab her coat. Since he was shirtless, he couldn't offer her anything. He tried to think, to figure out what to do, but he couldn't get his brain to work. He felt glued to the spot, unable to take his gaze off her.
She needed his help.
Honey came to the same realization. "Why don't we all go inside and talk?"
Looking horrified by that proposition, Emma backed up. "No. That's not—"
"Be quiet, girl!" Her father reached for her again, his anger and his intent obvious.
Casey stepped in front of him, bristling, coiled. "Don't even try it." No way in hell would he let Dell touch her again.
Face mottled with rage, her father shouted, "You think you get some say-so, boy? You think what you've done to her gives you that right?"
Without moving his gaze from the man in front of him, Casey said, "Honey, will you take Emma inside?"
Honey looked at her husband, who nodded. Casey hadn't had a single doubt what his father would do or say. Not once in his entire life had he ever had to question his father's support.
Never in his life had he been more grateful for it.
Again, Emma tried to back away, moving into the far shadows of the big porch. Casey snapped his gaze to hers, so attuned to her it seemed he felt her every shuddering breath. "Go inside, Emma."
She bit her lip, big tears spilling over her blotchy cheeks and clinging to her long lashes. Her mouth trembled. "Casey, I…"
"It's all right." He struggled to keep his voice soft, comforting, but it wasn't easy—not while he could see the hurt in her eyes and feel her very real distress. "We'll talk in a little bit."
Speaking low and gentle, Honey put her arm around Emma, and reluctantly, Emma allowed herself to be led away. The front door closed quietly behind them.
With his daughter out of sight, Dell seemed more incensed than ever. He took two aggressive steps forward. "You'll do more than talk. You'll damn well marry her."
Casey gave him a cool look of disdain. That Dell could treat a female so callously made him sick to his stomach, but that he'd treat his own daughter that way brought out all Casey's protective instincts. More than anyone else he knew, Emma needed love and understanding. Yet, her own father was throwing her out, deliberately humiliating her.
"You brought her here," Casey growled. "You've delivered her to my doorstep, to me. What she or I do now is no concern of yours. Go home and leave us the hell alone."
Though Casey knew it would only complicate things more, he wanted to tear Dell apart. It wouldn't strain him at all. He was taller, stronger, with raw fury adding to his edge. He deliberately provoked Dell, and waited for his reaction.
It came in a lightning flash of curses and motion. The older man erupted, lunging forward. Smiling with intent, anxious for the confrontation, Casey braced himself.
Unfortunately, Sawyer caught Dell by his jacket collar before Casey could throw his first swing.
At well over six feet tall, solid with muscle, Sawyer wasn't a man to be messed with. He slammed Dell hard into the side of the house, and held him there with his forearm braced across his throat. He leaned close enough that their noses nearly touched.
"You come onto my property," Sawyer snarled, looking meaner than Casey had ever seen him look, "treating your only daughter like garbage and threatening my son?" He slammed Dell again, making his head smack back against the wood siding. "Unless you want me to take you apart right now, which I'm more than willing to do, I suggest you get hold of your goddamn temper."
Copyright © 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.