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His last words were a plea for help. After finding her brother bloody and beaten, TV producer McCleena Alcott knows nothing will stop her from finding his assailant. Uncertain but determined she turns to her brother’s best friend and the boy she once loved, Mitch McCall. But is he still the man she once knew? Or has he become a ruthless criminal willing to murder old friends to get what he wants?
Successful defense manager, Mitch McCall, ended his friendship with McCleena’s brother in anger and regret. Now he has a chance to redeem himself and explore new emotions for McCleena. But can he trust her enough to help prove his innocence and pursue the feelings growing between them? Or will their partnership land him in jail with the sentence of a broken heart?
Hell, he’d killed Alcott.
It wasn’t his fault. The man had surprised him. He remembered Alcott’s shocked expression, the sharp crack as he hit the man’s skull, and the way he’d crumpled to the living room floor like a marionette whose strings had snapped.
Now he was racing across the lawn, pumping his arms and legs with a sick fear spreading out from his chest. He sucked in the damp air, but couldn’t catch his breath. Licking his lips, he tasted the salty sweat of terror.
At least in the night, he blended into the safety of the darkness. Panting, he reached his car hidden on the abandoned logging trail in the woods. His breath was coming out loud and raspy.
His hands fumbled with the handle. “Come on, come on.”
At last, the catch released. The door opened, and he leapt inside. His hands shook on the wheel. No one had seen him. He was safe. Safe. With his shirtsleeve, he wiped the sweat off his brow and expelled a curse. He reached for the white cellophane package of cigarettes on the dashboard. The package rustled as he managed to shake out a smoke. He dropped the box on the floorboard and held his lighter with two hands to steady the flame.
He dragged on his cigarette. Calmer, he exhaled the pungent smoke. What should he do next? He shouldn’t have run away like a damn coward after he hit Alcott. He’d screwed up. It was the shock from Alcott’s death that made him run.
But he’d pulled it together. He still had time to go back and search. But what if someone came by?
Kill that person, too, his mind shouted. His lips twisted into a smile. Yes, he could do it. He’d park a little closer this time. A surge of adrenaline gushed through his veins. He started the car with one twist of the key. The engine purred to life.
With the car in gear, he began to circle back to Jeff Alcott’s house.
* * * *
Here she was alone on a Friday night in a place she hated. The dark. Sitting in the driveway, McCleena Alcott wished her brother had at least left on one light. Ever since she’d accidentally locked herself in that trunk when she was playing hide and seek with Jeff, she’d hated the blackness. She’d been only five at the time.
For months after her release from the chest, her beloved brother had delighted in taking advantage and jumping out at her in the dark. Thank the Maturity Gods he’d long given up his juvenile ways. She shot a look at the shadowed house, or maybe not.
Jeff’s blue clapboard house remained silent. She hesitated with her hand over the car’s ignition key. Why would her brother wait for her in a house without any lights on when he expected her?
True, she’d arrived thirty minutes late because she’d miscalculated the heavy weekend traffic exiting Boston and heading into New Hampshire on 93 North. But Jeff wouldn’t desert her.
She glanced again at her gold wristwatch. It was almost eight thirty. Had she somehow misunderstood? Searching through her mind, she mentally replayed their last conversation. No, he’d told her to come immediately after work at WBST when her vacation officially began. She had the right time. Besides as a TV producer, McCleena Alcott prided herself on her time management.
Maybe he’d forgotten the butter or something and run out to the store. She was being paranoid. He’d probably left a note for her on the door. He was forgetful. After all, his school friends had labeled him the absent-minded professor.
But, she couldn’t stop herself from stealing glances into the shadows of the house, searching for murky forms, serial killers, or whoever lurked in dark places.
“Get a grip.” She’d watched too many TV programs about murders, and they were stimulating her overactive imagination. She gulped the thick knot of fear in her throat. Why was she sitting here dredging up scary memories? Time to forget the past and live in the present.
“Happy Vacation,” she whispered.
Murder by Heart is a fast paced, action packed book filled with enough suspense and intrigue to keep you glued to your chair reading. The growing romance between McCleena and Mitch only adds to the tension as McCleena tries to stay alive and find out who wants her dead. Ms. LeDuc has mixed the perfect amount of romance, mystery, and excitement to make one entertaining read. from Enchanted Ramblings
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 240
Paper Weight (lb): 10.2
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