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A Protectors Series Book Six
BY KAREN FENECH
MEET THE PROTECTORS
THE PROTECTORS: Though they work independently and at times are oceans apart, their ties to each other remain strong. They’re related by blood or bond — these men in law enforcement, government intelligence, and the military who do what others cannot to serve, defend, and protect.
Former Navy SEAL Gavin Chase, now second-in-command of a Special Ops organization, resumes his cover in a small town in West Virginia to catch an assassin. Further complicating this mission is the woman Chase had met when he was last undercover there, a woman he has not been able to forget, despite time, distance, and his abhorrence for the lies he’d had to tell her to maintain his cover.
When she learns that Gavin Chase is back in town, Rachel Abbott’s heart gives three hard thuds. The first for the man she can’t stop thinking about. The second in anger for his deceit. And the third in dread. While she’d once wanted Chase to return, that time has passed. Chase’s return now threatens the most important person in Rachel’s life, Noah, her son, and the son Chase doesn’t know he has.
But there is more to this mission than Chase knows and when he finds himself on a collision course with his past, Chase will put his life on the line for the woman and child he loves.
THE PROTECTORS SERIES BOOKS AVAILABLE NOW
IMPOSTER: The Protectors Series — Book One
SNOWBOUND The Protectors Series — Book Two
PURSUED: The Protectors Series — Book Three
HIDE: The Protectors Series — Book Four
GUILTY: The Protectors Series — Book Five
TRAPPED: The Protectors Series — Book Six
The hours between noon and three that were the busiest of the day passed in a blur as Rachel served more of the hot roast beef that was Gramps’s special that day, cleared tables, and worked the cash register.
Busy as she was, though, Gavin remained at the forefront of her mind. He was still in the diner. He’d left his chair a few times to greet people from the town that he hadn’t seen since he’d left Lindsay, but at the moment was back at the table, seated on the black vinyl upholstery, drinking coffee. As she cashed out elderly Mrs. Evans, Rachel met his gaze.
His focus was as intent as she remembered it could be. Since they had nothing between them now she could think of only one reason for such fierce concentration and that reason both unsettled her and had her drawing battle lines.
Crystal came up beside her, dangling someone’s tab. “Know who looks like him?” She chewed gum then popped a big pink bubble.
Rachel, in the process of depositing the bills Mrs. Evans had given her in the register tray, went still. “What?”
“Him.” Crystal inclined her head. “The new guy at table five.”
Crystal had moved to Lindsay only two months earlier. Rachel didn’t correct Crystal’s assumption that Gavin was new to the town. She couldn’t if she’d tried. Her throat had closed up tight.
Crystal leaned toward Rachel, and Rachel inhaled the scents of bubble gum and vanilla cologne.
“Know who looks like him?” Crystal repeated.
Rachel’s heart pounded so loud she wondered if Crystal could hear it.
“That doctor on One Day To Remember,” Crystal said.
Lost, Rachel shook her head.
Crystal nudged Rachel’s arm with her shoulder. “You know. That new soap I’ve been telling you about?” When Rachel still didn’t answer, Crystal went on. “The lung doctor on the show—Dr. Blaine Sharp—he definitely looks like table number five.”
Dr. Blaine Sharp. An actor on a TV show. That’s who Crystal thought resembled Gavin. Rachel released the breath she’d held, then angry with herself for where her mind had gone, slammed closed the tray to the cash register.
Crystal popped another bubble. “On second thought, he’s even better looking than Blaine Sharp.” Crystal waggled her pink dyed brows. “Oh, yeah. He’s seriously hot.” She slumped against Rachel then sighed. “Oh, well, back to work.”
Crystal’s heels clicked on the tile. Rachel heard her name being called. Ron Haggerty held his cup upside down and gave her a gummy grin. Ron had forgotten his top dentures again.
By the time Rachel made a fresh pot of coffee, refilled Ron’s cup and brought him a slice of lemon meringue pie to top off his meal, Gavin was no longer at the table. She turned to the short hall that led to the restrooms. Five minutes later, he hadn’t made an appearance. Gone. He was gone. He’d left the diner.
Crystal sidled up to Rachel. “Speaking of the hottie, he’s got a hot car, too.”
Crystal pointed to the glass door. Beyond it Gavin stood feeding the meter in front of a black high-end convertible. A moment later he was back inside and walking to where Rachel and Crystal were.
When he reached them, Crystal leaned on the cash register and gazed up at him. “So how did you like lunch? We’re the best in town and the big cities.” She flashed Gavin a smile. “Y’all come back now, you here.”
Rachel had heard Crystal quote the phrase before. Crystal was born and raised in Minneapolis but watching reruns of folksy sitcoms decided her that small town life was for her and she’d moved to Lindsay. She’d taken to life here as if she’d been born to it, just as she’d told Rachel she would when she’d applied for the job.
“Can’t argue with that. Wilf’s cooking is the best.” Gavin held the restaurant tab in a loose grip.
Crystal reached out. “I’ll take that for you.”
Gavin’s calm when her world had been turned upside down brought Rachel a new wave of anger. “I’ll take care of it, Crystal.”
“Okay.” Crystal tossed her rainbow streaked hair and cast Gavin an under the false eyelashes look before ambling away.
Gavin made no move to hand Rachel the check and she made no move to take it.
He said, “Earlier, you asked me what I’m doing here.”
“Pick up!” Gramps shouted.
They looked at each other without blinking while Rachel’s heart raced, then Gavin broke the silence.
“You need to get that.” He placed the check and a bill to cover his meal plus a generous tip on the cash register. “I’ll come back later and we’ll talk.”
“Call first.” Her tone was firm, giving no leeway.
“You want me to make an appointment?”
Nerves humming she clutched the counter. “That’s right.”
He squinted his confusion. “I’ll be in touch.”
As Rachel watched him leave the diner, his parting words, the promise in them, became an echo in her head.
My first novel, Unholy Angels was written over a two-year period and, in part, in some very unlikely places such as line-ups at deli-counters and cash registers, and doctor and dentist waiting rooms. While I was out running errands, I jotted down scenes for the story in a notebook I toted around in my purse, and then typed them up when I returned home.
Writing novels is what I have wanted to do since I was ten-years-old and undertook to write a book based on my beloved Nancy Drew mysteries. As I grew older, I continued to read mysteries but I found that as much as I enjoyed attempting to solve the puzzle, I became enthralled whenever a new development occurred in the romantic relationships of the characters. When I thought of writing Unholy Angels, I knew it would have to be a romance.
Of course, my love of mystery and suspense meant that while my characters were finding love, they would also face life-threatening danger.
I live with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, or spending time with my family, you can usually find me curled up with a good book, or out shopping for one.
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