Evidence of attraction, p.1

Evidence of Attraction, page 1


Evidence of Attraction

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Evidence of Attraction

  From investigating the evidence

  To becoming a killer’s target

  Wendy Thompson is used to investigating crime scenes—not being put in peril herself! But once a criminal threatens her life, Wendy enters the protective custody of longtime workplace crush Hart Fisher. Having him guarding her is distracting, to say the least, especially when passions flare. But as Hart tracks the underworld kingpin endangering Wendy’s life, they must decide between love—and safeguarding their lives...

  She’d already fallen for Hart Fisher. Long ago...

  Even before he’d saved her life over and over.

  She was helpless to fight her feelings any longer. She was helpless to fight the passion that overpowered her. She’d nearly lost him—nearly lost her opportunity to ever be this close to him. When he laid her down on a bed, she clung to him, pulling him down on top of her like he’d been that night he’d sneaked into her room.

  Their legs tangled, and she felt the evidence of his passion. She moaned and arched against him.

  “Wendy...” he murmured as he tried to ease back—away from her.

  She might have let him go—if she didn’t see the desire on his face, which was flushed, his eyes glittering. He wanted her, too.

  She moved her hand between them, over the fly of his worn jeans. His breath hissed out between his clenched teeth.

  “You’re killing me,” he murmured.

  She shook her head. “No. I don’t want that to happen. I want you...”


  * * *

  Be sure to check out the previous books in the exciting Bachelor Bodyguards miniseries.

  Dear Reader,

  I’m excited to bring you another story about the Bachelor Bodyguards! If you read Guarding His Witness, you know that the Payne Protection Agency has a dangerous new assignment. Drug kingpin and killer Luther Mills has sworn out a contract against everyone who can put him behind bars—where he deserves to be—for the rest of his life. Fortunately, the police chief brought in the Payne Protection Agency to make sure nobody is hurt before the trial.

  In Evidence of Attraction, he ramps up his efforts to get his charges dismissed by trying to have the evidence against him destroyed. But despite the threats crime scene investigator Wendy Thompson has been receiving, she is too committed to her job and justice to compromise either. Bodyguard Hart Fisher has his work cut out for him, though. To prevent Luther’s leak in the police department from finding out the chief is on to them, Hart has to pose as Wendy’s boyfriend. When Wendy begins to bond with the single dad’s young daughter, Hart has to keep reminding himself it’s just an assignment—maybe the most dangerous one of his life.

  Hope you enjoy this latest installment of Bachelor Bodyguards!

  Happy reading!

  Lisa Childs


  Lisa Childs


  Ever since LISA CHILDS read her first romance novel (a Harlequin story, of course) at age eleven, all she wanted was to be a romance writer. With over forty novels published with Harlequin, Lisa is living her dream. She is an award-winning, bestselling romance author. Lisa loves to hear from readers, who can contact her on Facebook, through her website, lisachilds.com, or her snail-mail address, PO Box 139, Marne, MI 49435.

  For my hero, Andrew Ahearne. Thank you for your love and support! Love you!


  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Excerpt from Colton’s Rescue Mission by Karen Whiddon

  Chapter 1

  Lose the evidence or lose your life...

  That was the first threat Wendy Thompson had received, tucked behind the windshield wiper on her car. When she’d seen the slip of paper, she’d thought it was a flyer for a new restaurant or a dry cleaner. Of course, as an evidence tech, she’d processed the paper for prints. The couple of very smudged partials she’d recovered had been insufficient for her to match in AFIS, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

  The next threat she’d received a few weeks later had been a phone call, the voice of the caller a hoarse, unidentifiable whisper. Lose the evidence or lose everything and everybody you love...

  She shivered as she replayed the call in her head as she had so many times since receiving it two days ago. Even though she hadn’t recognized the caller’s voice, she knew who was behind the threats. She knew which ballistics and DNA reports, despite all the cases she handled, that someone didn’t want making to trial. Because she knew that, she also knew the threats weren’t idle.

  She hadn’t slept since receiving that call, and she worried she wouldn’t sleep tonight, either. She had been lying awake in the dark for hours. She’d already kicked off the blankets, but now that she was shivering, she pulled them back up over her panties and the oversize T-shirt she wore as a nightgown. Maybe she should shut the window, but it was a few feet away, so she would have to walk across the creaky floor to reach it. The noise might awaken her parents, who weren’t used to someone else being in the house.

  They already suspected something was wrong because she’d come home the night she’d received that call. She’d claimed her apartment was being fumigated for cockroaches, and they’d seemed to buy that explanation—until she’d started checking locks on the windows and doors. She hoped she’d convinced them that was just a habit she’d developed since living alone.

  She hadn’t locked her window, though, because her old bedroom was on the second floor. Her parents had moved their bedroom to the den on the main floor since Mom’s knee replacement surgery a month ago. Wendy probably should have slept down there, as well—to protect them—but then they would have known for certain that something was going on. And she didn’t want to worry them.

  She had reported the threats to the chief of the River City Police Department, though, and he’d ordered a patrol car stationed on the quiet suburban street. The officers would notice if there was anyone suspicious in the area. At this hour, anyone outside would be suspicious.

  But Wendy felt better being here herself, her service weapon within easy reach on the bedside table. While not all police departments armed their crime scene technicians, River City PD had. Not too long ago, the southwestern Michigan city, which was even bigger than Detroit, had been as corrupt and lawless as the cities in the old Westerns her father watched. And, of course, crime scenes were usually in the most dangerous areas of the city. The FBI had stepped in years ago to help clean up the city, but it wasn’t really safe.

  Not yet...

  Getting legendary drug kingpin Luther Mills off the street would help. He was in jail, awaiting trial. But he needed to be in prison—a maximum security one—for the rest of his life. That would only happen if the evidence against him made it to trial.

  And it would—d
espite the threats Wendy had received. They had to be from Mills. Or, since he was in jail, from someone working for him. Unfortunately, he had many, many people working for him.

  That was why she needed to be here, to make sure her parents stayed safe. Along with some friends, they were the only real loved ones she had—besides her job. Maybe it was because she loved it so much that she had no other loved ones. She was only twenty-seven, though, and eventually work would let up, when crime and Luther Mills went down, and she would have more time for dating.

  If she found someone she actually wanted to date, she would make time now, though. But she hadn’t found anyone yet.

  A face flashed into her mind. A handsome face with chiseled features: strong jaw, sharp cheekbones, deep brown eyes that could stare right into a person’s soul. Not hers, though...

  Hart Fisher had never even looked at her. Of course, he had been married some of his time with the River City PD. But after he had left the vice unit and become a detective, he and his wife had divorced. He would have been available then...if he had ever showed any interest in Wendy. But he hadn’t.

  Not too long after his divorce, he had resigned from the force. Wendy had heard he was working for a former coworker, Parker Payne, as a bodyguard.

  She expelled a wistful sigh. She wouldn’t have minded him guarding her body. At least then he might have to look at her. But would he like what he saw?

  Untamable red hair and freckles that showed even through the heaviest application of makeup. She uttered another sigh. This one was of resignation. If the rumors around the station were true, his ex had been a beauty queen—a former Miss River City—so it was no wonder Hart had never noticed Wendy.

  All a woman like Wendy could do was dream about a man like Hart Fisher, and after his divorce, she had often dreamed about him. About him kissing her, touching her...even just smiling at her.

  Her sigh turned to a yawn. The past few sleepless nights must have caught up with her because her eyelids grew heavy. With the officers stationed outside, she didn’t need to worry. Her parents would be safe. She could sleep and dream...of a certain former River City PD detective.

  But she hadn’t been asleep for long when a noise awoke her. The hardwood floor emitted a low creaking sound, as if someone was walking across it. Had her dad come upstairs to close her window? She could still feel the wind, though, blowing through the sheer curtains and across her body. And the sound was coming toward her, not away from her.

  She jerked fully awake and reached for her Glock. But before she was able to grab it, a strong hand grabbed her, wrapping tightly around her wrist. She stared up at the dark shadow looming over her bed. Before she could open her mouth to scream, the shadow’s other hand covered her lips. She thrashed, kicking out, trying to fight.

  But then the shadow dropped heavily onto her, a hard body covering hers. She kept thrashing around, trying to get her knee to connect where it would hurt him most. From the grunts slipping through his lips and his overpowering strength, she knew her intruder was male.

  It had to be one of Luther’s minions sent to deliver the next threat in person. The first had been paper, the second the call and now...this one...

  Was he just supposed to threaten her? Or was he supposed to make good on those threats and kill her?

  If that was his intention, she wasn’t going to make it easy for him. Wendy Thompson wasn’t going out without one hell of a fight.

  * * *

  “Stop,” Hart Fisher whispered, pressing his mouth close to Wendy Thompson’s ear. Her soft hair tickled his lips. “Stop fighting me.”

  If she kneed him again, he might not be able to stop himself from crying out.

  “You were supposed to be expecting me,” he whispered. Somebody—either his boss or hers—had said they would call and let her know he was coming. When she hadn’t been waiting outside for him, he hadn’t wanted to wake her parents. He had also wanted to see how easily he could get past her supposed protection stationed outside the house.

  Too easily.

  He shivered and so did Wendy, her body shuddering beneath his. Unfortunately, his body was reacting to the closeness of hers, to her warmth, her softness, her scent...

  She smelled sweet, like vanilla.

  If she kneed him again, it was going to hurt even more than it already had. Even though she should have been expecting him, she kept thrashing around beneath him.

  “Stop,” he told her again even though she had stilled, her body tense beneath his. “I’m here to protect you.”

  Her lips moved under his hand, brushing over his skin as she tried to talk. At least, he hoped that was all she was going to do—not scream.

  “I’m Hart Fisher.” He identified himself before moving his hand away from her mouth.

  “I know who you are,” she said in a raspy whisper. “What I need to know is what the hell you are doing in my bed.”

  Heat rushed back to his face from where it had pooled in other parts of his body. Had she felt his reaction to her closeness?

  He quickly moved off her, hoping that she hadn’t. It had been too damn long since he’d been with a woman if just any female could affect him like that.

  But Wendy Thompson wasn’t just any female. She was the one he’d been assigned to protect. He needed to focus on that, on protecting her.

  But now he realized he might also need to protect himself. “I was trying to stop you from shooting me. I work for the Payne Protection Agency,” he said.

  She nodded. “Parker Payne.”

  “Yes,” he said. Until this assignment, Hart had thought Parker was his friend as well as his boss. Now he wasn’t so damn sure. “I was assigned to protect you. The chief or Parker was supposed to call to let you know I was coming over tonight.”

  She reached toward her nightstand again, but instead of grabbing her Glock, she picked up her cell. The screen lit up with a notification that she had a voice mail—undoubtedly from the chief or Parker.

  “I already have protection,” Wendy said. “I have the whole River City PD looking out for me.”

  Hart snorted derisively. He hadn’t been surprised that Luther Mills had got to someone in the police department. Despite the FBI’s efforts over the past few years to clean it up, there was still too much corruption in the force.

  She bristled in defense and said, “They are my fellow officers.”

  He knew that, as well as getting her master’s degree in criminal science, she had also graduated from the police academy. Because of that, she had the respect of the rest of the precinct. But that respect meant nothing now, since she had been the one who’d collected the evidence against Luther Mills.

  “I know,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean you can trust them.”

  “What?” she asked, her voice rising sharply above a whisper. She lowered it and continued. “What the hell are you insinuating?”

  “I’m not insinuating anything,” he said. “I’m telling you that Luther Mills got to someone within the police department. That’s why the chief hired the Payne Protection Agency to step in and provide security for everyone associated with Mills’s upcoming trial.”

  “No...” She shook her head, tumbling her wild red curls around her face. “I just talked to Chief Lynch a few days ago and he said nothing about hiring a bodyguard for me.”

  Hart narrowed his eyes at the suspicion in her voice. Did she think he was the one Luther Mills had got to? She must have because she started reaching for her gun again. He caught her wrist. Her pulse leaped beneath his fingers. “If you would have picked up the call you missed, you would have known I am here to take you to a meeting with the chief.”

  “In the middle of the night?” She snorted now, like he had earlier. “Yeah, right. How much is Mills paying you?”

  Hart felt like she’d kneed him again, but this time her sharp knee struck hi
m right in his pride.

  “That’s ridiculous,” he said, not caring that his voice got a little louder with anger. He’d spent years in the vice unit trying to build a case against the notorious drug dealer. But every time anyone had got close to prosecuting Luther Mills, the eyewitnesses and the evidence had disappeared. “I am not working for Mills!”

  Wendy shushed him now.

  So he lowered his voice when he added, “But someone in the RCPD is, which puts your life and the lives of everyone else involved in his prosecution in danger. That’s why the chief wants to meet with everybody at Payne Protection tonight, so that he can explain everything.”

  She shook her head again. “You’re crazy if you think I’m going anywhere with you.”

  Back when he was on the force, other officers had teased him that the red-haired evidence tech had a crush on him. He’d laughed off their claims then and it was clear now that they’d just been messing with him. Wendy Thompson couldn’t have had a crush on him since she didn’t even trust him.

  Not that he blamed her. Luther Mills wanted her dead, so she shouldn’t trust anyone. But there was one person even more above suspicion than Hart. He reached for his phone. “Play that voice mail on your phone. Or better yet, I’ll call Parker. The chief is with him. Lynch will verify he called this meeting.”

  Before he could pull the phone from his pocket, her bedroom door flew open. Light flooded the space, illuminating the pink walls and frilly curtains of a little girl’s bedroom. Felicity would love this room. Pain clenched his heart at the thought of his daughter.

  Would he ever see her again?

  He was not so sure at the moment because that light also glinted off the gun in the hand of the man standing in the doorway.

  Hart might have been called in too late to save Wendy Thompson.

  Or himself...

  * * *

  Parker opened the door to the room off his wife’s office at the Payne Protection Agency. A little girl lay asleep in one of the beds in the nursery Sharon had designed for their children. She’d wanted them close while she and Parker worked. But this child wasn’t theirs.

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