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Kate Storm appraises Russian/European jewelry and artifacts. Jacob Elliott is an investigator with the U.S. Justice Department. This situation sets up a scenario that allows the protagonists to grow and learn to trust each other.
Kate Storm does not trust the agency that killed her husband, therefore, she doesnâ€™t trust Jake Elliott. Jake has trouble understanding why she wonâ€™t help the government.
Together they beat the bad guys at their own game and fall in love
A blinding flash of lightning filled the elegant showroom. Paste replicas of diamonds and sapphires sparkled in the aftermath of natureâ€™s fury. A millisecond later, an earth-shattering clap of thunder sent ominous vibrations through the building. As the rolling noise trailed away, Kate wished she had made arrangements to meet the man from the Justice Department in some nice friendly, well lighted, restaurant where people are always interested in what is going on around them.
But no, she had to play the woman in control, insisting that if there was going to be a meeting, it would be held on her home-turf or not at all. She hadnâ€™t given a thought to the fact that the other businesses in the building were closed this time of night. Her nerves jumped at every sound. And damn the man, he was late.
Kate glanced uneasily up at the clock for the third time in as many minutes. At that very second, the front door burst open, bringing with it a gust of damp wind. Startled, Kate turned just in time to see a rain-soaked man, muffled to the ears in trench coat and fedora hat, hit the floor. His body splayed itself over the largest possible area, as if to say, this piece of earth is mine.
Kate, frozen to the spot, heart pounding furiously, stared in fascination. The manâ€™s hand slowly started to open as he slipped into unconsciousness. She thought she saw a hint of glitter between his fingers just before the showroom lights blinked, then failed in another blinding flash of lightning. Thunderous reverberations shook the floor beneath her feet. Stranded in total darkness after such light-play, Kateâ€™s sense of direction vanished.
An eerie green outline of the body reflected against the lids of her tightly closed eyes. She couldnâ€™t move. What if she stumbled over him? For the first time in her life, she knew the true meaning of fear. The sound of her own heart pounded in her ears. Was this the man from the Justice Department? Why had he collapsed?
The showroom lights blinked once then came back on.
Nothing had changed. Glass showcases with their artistically arranged scarves, fans and paste replicas of the crown jewels of Europe still waited for their matching pieces of heirloom jewelry that were safe under lock and key. The elegant gray-on-gray wallpaper was still the perfect foil for her prized, eighteenth century, hand-carved, jade clock. And there was still a body lying at her feet. She must have conjured the sparkle she thought sheâ€™d seen shining between his fingers. The outstretched hand was empty.
The toe of his left shoe, lying on the threshold, kept the automatic door from closing properly. The heavy glass door bounced back open to its limit, letting in a new blast of wind and rain. Drops of water beating against the front windows gleamed as lightning lit the night sky once again. The strong odor of exhaust riding on the damp air invaded the showroom. The door repeated its opening and closing exercise against the manâ€™s foot while wind driven raindrops made spots on the pale-blue carpeting. Kate was sure she was living in some terrible dream where everything was slightly distorted and yet continued to be familiar.
Icy fear clawed its way up her spine. Moving in what felt like slow motion, Kate hooked her fingers in his pants-cuff. She lifted his leg high enough to move the casually shod foot off the threshold, being very careful not to touch his skin. The door finally closed with a pneumatic sigh, shutting out the surging rain. Kate dropped his leg with a shudder of distaste.
She swallowed a giggle of fear. This couldnâ€™t really be happening. Maybe if she thought of him as a piece of storm flotsam it would be easier to handle. She didnâ€™t think he was the Justice Department representative. He wasnâ€™t dressed like any agent sheâ€™d ever known. The question now, was why had this guy come into her store? Had her showroom been his goal or was her doorway simply a target of opportunity?
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 314
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