Writing About Safe Havens for the Heart
Toni Noel presents:
light romantic suspense.
Available soon in print.
The possibility of the writer's conference Allison Marble is attending being the most amazing weekend of her writing career evaporates with the discovery someone has switched track bags with hers and instead of her cosmetics, bundles of money spill out on her hotel dresser. Uneasy, she calls the LAPD Detective she met at the train station for help.
Carlo Demetri insists Allison's life is in danger and wants to strangle her when she refuses to go to a safe house. This conference is too important. Carlo's Captain allows her to stay, but cautions her to follow Carlo's orders and assigns several undercover detectives to escort her and catch the drug runner he's convinced will come after the cash.
Will Carlo make good on his threat to turn her over her knee and paddle her, or will Allison best the hunky Detective at his own game?
Lying Eyes Excerpt:
"I need your help. I'm in room 510 and don't know what to do."
"Don't you feel safe in your room?"
"I… don't know," Allison Marble replied.
"I'm on my way. Throw the security lock on your door until you hear my knock. Check the peephole to be sure it's me at the door and let me in."
Detective Carlo Demetri's quiet instructions helped ease Allison's concern.
She ended the call, hurried to the door and flipped the security lock.
Have I done the right thing?
Was seeking help from a man she barely knew taking a foolhardy risk?
Her angst accelerated again.
Not when he's a cop.
Apparently a respected Detective at the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Community Police Station, too.
He'd been invited to present a workshop for the same writers' conference where she would be giving two presentations.
Surely the officer would have a simple solution to her problem and she could again concentrate on the presentation she would be making the following day at the writer's conference.
An image of the heart-stopping Detective with the dark, inscrutable eyes flickered through her mind. He hadn't even cracked a smile when he'd thoughtfully suggested she share his taxi from the crowded stand at Union Station to the Caprice Hotel downtown.
His dark blue uniform had been neatly pressed and his smooth cheeks recently shaved. If he hadn't explained he'd just come off an all-night stakeout at the train station and was looking forward to sleeping all afternoon, she would never have guessed. He'd also ruefully confessed he'd change into his uniform at the station right before offering to help with her bags.
In the taxi she'd discovered the Detective wasn't much of a talker, but he had eyes no woman would soon forget, and she'd impulsively reached in her pocket and exchanged business cards with him before stepping into the hotel elevator.
"See you around," he'd promised as she and the bellhop stepped out on her floor, probably not expecting to run into her again. He and some dark-skinned man had continued up.
She'd just begun settling into her room when she'd discovered the mix-up and called the Detective. Disturbing the Detective couldn't be avoided. She desperately needed his advice.
The moment Allison unzipped her gym bag in search of her hairbrush she'd discovered the mistake and called the Detective.
Two rapid knocks on her door startled her even though she'd been expecting them.
Alison strode to the door and let Detective Demetri in.
The walls of her hotel room seemed to draw in as the buff Detective stalked inside. Keeping his right hand on his gun holster, he turned to her.
His curious gaze met hers. "How can I help?"
"Sorry to delay your nap. I didn't know who else to call."
"I… What should I do?"
"About what, Miss Marble?"
She unzipped the green gym bag on the dresser and stepped aside. "This."
The Detective leaned over the bag for a better view.
He and glanced at her in the mirror, stunned. "Don't you know it's not safe for a woman to travel with this much cash?" he all but shouted, then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "Is this yours?"
His suspicious gaze revealed tiny pinpoints of light in his flinty eyes.
Allison shook her head.
"Where did you get it?"
"I don't know. I left home with a similar bag loaded with cosmetics and… stuff."
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