by Cynthia Eden
Battling McGuire Boys Book Five
Old sins explode…
People called Elizabeth Snow wild, and once she was. Now she’s the straitlaced librarian with no interest in the wildest, sexiest McGuire…until she needs him to protect her from a murderous stalker. But former Delta Force Mac does more than protect—he quickly unleashes her untamed side again, taking their attraction to the furthest edge of desire!
Secrets from their pasts threaten Elizabeth and Mac—as much as ”The Fixer,” who seems to know their every move as they hunt this monstrous killer. Can they trust each other enough to go forward? Or will a shocking truth prove fatal?
Genre: Romantic SuspensePurchase link(s): Amazon ARe BAM iTunes Kobo B&N
Content/Theme(s): Military, Librarian, Intrigue, Thriller, Contemporary
Release Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Excerpt & More
She should have been alone.
Elizabeth Snow had the late shift at the small library nestled on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. She was the one scheduled to close and secure the facility. She should have been the only one there.
So why had she just heard the faint pad of footsteps coming from the back?
Elizabeth froze a few feet from the library’s exit. Her purse was slung over her shoulder, and her fingers had a pretty strong death grip on the strap. Shadows loomed from the heavy shelves of books, seeming to reach for her.
Normally, the library was a haven for her. So safe. So secure. But...
It was late. Those shadows were thick and—
She heard a very distinct thud. As if a book had just fallen off a shelf. Or been knocked off. Elizabeth swallowed and called out, “Is someone there? The library is closed now. You need to leave.” She tried to use her firmest voice.
Maybe her imagination was just a little too active. She had spent the last weekend watching a horror marathon on TV. Perhaps she was—
Thud. Okay, that definitely had sounded like a book falling to the floor. Someone is playing with me.
They’d never had any kind of security issue before. Sure, sometimes folks fell asleep among the library shelves, curled up at one of the tables, and those people would miss the announcements about closing time. But when she did her final walk-through, she gently woke them up and sent them on their way.
She’d done her walk-through a few minutes before and had found no stragglers.
“The library is closed!” She took a tentative step back toward her desk.
It was a whisper, raspy and low and male, and it had her tensing.
“Who’s there?” Elizabeth demanded, voice rising. “This isn’t funny. I’ll call security!” A total lie. There was no security at the library. Not then, anyway.
His voice sounded closer.
No, this could not be happening to her. “Stop it!” Elizabeth called. “Just—”
Someone banged on the door, a hard knock that had her yelling—screaming—in surprise and whirling toward the glass doors.
A tall man stood at the main entrance. His shoulders were wide, almost ridiculously so, and his powerful chest was obviously muscled. She recognized him on sight—it was rather hard to forget a man like him—and Elizabeth normally would have just paused to admire the very fine sight of MacKenzie “Mac” McGuire, but right then—
She flew toward the door. Her breath sawed in and out of her lungs, and her heart raced as her fingers fumbled to disengage the lock.
Mac held up his book, a thriller she’d picked out for him during his last visit to the library. “Sorry to come in so late,” he said, his voice that deep, rolling rumble that she secretly adored. “But I saw the light on and I figured you’d be—”
She grabbed him. His book tumbled to the floor. “Someone is in here.”
Mac’s green eyes narrowed on her. His face—a dangerously handsome face that maybe she fantasized a bit about—hardened. “What?”
She kept one hand on him and pointed behind her with the other. “I heard him. He’s back there, calling my name! I don’t—”
He pushed her behind him and immediately started stalking toward the shelves. She knew that Mac—like his brothers—had spent time in the military. According to the gossip she’d picked up, Mac was ex-Delta Force, as tough as they came. As he moved forward with the slow, steady stride of a predator, she could practically feel the battle-ready tension pouring off him.
She crept behind him, trying to move as softly as he did, but totally failing as her purse and keys jingled and jangled with her steps. Mac paused and glanced back at her, frowning.
She pointed to the left. “There,” Elizabeth mouthed. “He came from—”
Glass shattered. Only the sound hadn’t come from the left. It had come from the right. Mac took off running. She grabbed the first weapon she saw on her desk and rushed after him. Her high heels were slowing her down so she just kicked them off. She rounded the shelves, twisted around the library cart and then she—
Ran into Mac.
Their bodies collided with a hard impact and before she could send them both hurtling to the floor, Mac’s hands flew up and wrapped around her. He steadied them both, holding her easily. She’d never been so close to him before. Never fully appreciated just how strong the guy was or how good he smelled and—
“He’s getting away.”
Oh, yes, right. She tried to back up.
“A stapler?” Mac muttered. “What the hell?”
She glanced at her left hand and the weapon she’d grabbed moments before. The stapler was pretty solid. It could do some damage if used properly.
But Mac didn’t give her time to reply. He whirled toward the window. Whoever the mystery man had been, he’d shattered the glass as he made his getaway. Mac took a second to punch out more of the glass that jutted out from the window, and then he leaped out into the night. He ran forward, vanishing, and she peered out the window, staring after him as she held that stapler tight. An alarm began to beep. Finally, the library’s alarm had kicked in. It should have sounded as soon as the glass broke.
She leaned even closer to the window, straining to see Mac. It was so dark out there. Was he okay? What if he’d just run straight into an ambush of some kind? The fingers of her right hand brushed aside the glass.
A car’s revving engine vibrated in the night. There was a flash of headlights, and that vibrating engine grew louder as the vehicle raced away.
Someone was in here, calling my name. Someone had been stalking her.
Been waiting... His whisper drifted through her mind once again. She hated the fear that filled her. A fear that reminded her—no matter how far you run, there are some things you can’t escape.
“Mac?” Elizabeth called as the alarm kept beeping. The cops would arrive soon. The alarm company would contact them, but what good would they do? That car—and the man who’d been in the library—were long gone now.
“Mac?” His name was louder this time as she peered into the darkness. Where had he gone? What if that nut in the car had hurt him? Sure, she got that Mac was supposed to be some kind of super tough guy, but even tough guys didn’t win in fights with moving vehicles. What if he’d been hit; what if—
She whirled and swung the stapler at him.
Sighing, Mac caught her wrist in his hand. The move was incredibly fast. Scary fast. Super reflex fast. Then, keeping his right hand around hers, his left removed the stapler and tossed it aside. “He’s gone.”
And she was about to jump out of her skin. “You scared me to death!” Elizabeth accused him. “What were you thinking?”
His dark brows shot up. “I called your name three times. The alarm is so loud you just didn’t hear me.”
She blinked. “Oh. Right.”
“The system is set up to alert the cops, isn’t it?” He was still holding her hand. She could feel the roughness of calluses on his fingertips.
“It is,” Elizabeth said. She had to look back over her shoulder, peering out that window into the darkness once more.
“They’ll check the scene, but he’s long gone. I didn’t see a tag on the car. Didn’t see much of anything because the joker waited and tried to blind me with his bright lights.”
She remembered the flash of light that had burst into the darkness.
“Are you okay?” Mac asked her.
And...his fingers were sliding lightly against the inside of her wrist. The touch was almost a caress, and it made her nervous. Edgy. But then again, Mac usually made her feel that way.
He’d started coming into the library a few weeks ago. The first time she’d looked up and seen him standing on the opposite side of the checkout counter, her jaw had dropped. Sexy. That was the only word for Mac, with his dark hair, that hard jaw, his sensual lips and—
Sirens were screaming outside. The cops were responding way faster than she’d anticipated.
“Elizabeth,” Mac pushed. “Are you okay?”
She forced herself to smile. “Fine. I’m glad you were here.” That was probably one of the most honest things she’d said in months. If he hadn’t shown up, just what would she have done?
Mac didn’t release her. “Do you have any enemies, Elizabeth?”
She kept her smile in place. “I’m a librarian. I try really hard not to make too many people angry.”
He kept staring at her. No humor softened his face. Right. This wasn’t the time for humor.
She let her smile vanish. “Thank you.” Her voice was softer. The sirens were louder. “I owe you a serious debt of gratitude.”
He let her go. “I’ll collect on that debt.”
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Be on the lookout for Cynthia Eden's future release(s): Bitter Blood coming April 2016, Allegiances coming May 2016 and Torn coming May 2016
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