The Coltons of Oklahoma
Excerpt from book:
Ryan Colton's booming, resonant voice filled every available nook and cranny within the small, albeit state-of-the-art, Tulsa PD forensic lab.
"No, I'm not."
Susie Howard, the lab's chief forensic expert, refused to be intimidated and stood her ground, even though a part of her could understand why the homicide detective before her had balked. After all, she'd just told him that the person who had broken into and apparently vandalized one of the ranch's stablesand was possibly responsible for the numerous vandalisms that had occurred prior to this latest onewas his sister, Greta.
But like it or not, Susie thought, evidence was evidence.
Doing her best to sound professional and remain removedno easy feat in this caseSusie stated the obvious. "You asked me to put a rush on the DNA evidence, so I did. The sample from the Lucky C's crime scene went to the head of the line and that's your answer," she told him, tapping the name that had been generated by her trusty machine after the test had been completed. Greta Colton's prints and DNA were in the system because of the nature of her work.
Frowning, Susie withdrew her well-manicured finger. "I can't help it if you don't like the answer, but that's it. The machine doesn't lieeven if you think that I do," she concluded, her hazel eyes narrowing as she tossed her head. A blond tendril came loose from the tightly wound bun she wore at the back of her neck as she looked up at the six-foot-two detective.
Ryan struggled to keep his temper in check. It had grown very frayed lately. Yelling wasn't going to get him anywhere, he knew that. Especially not with Susie.
But she just couldn't be right.
She couldn't be.
His words were carefully measured as he spoke. "I didn't say you were lying, but there's always the possibility that there's a margin of error."
Which was what he was pinning all his hopes on now. He knew Greta, had watched her grow up. There was no reason he could come up with for why she would do something like this.
"Run the test again," Ryan instructed, his voice leaving no room for argument. "I don't want to tell you your job"
"Then don't!" Susie retorted.
Ryan continued on the subject as if she hadn't said a single word. "But there was enough blood on that broken window to take several swabs. Run a second sample. And a third if you need to," he added before the forensic expert could protest.
"How many do you want me to run before you accept the results?" Susie challenged.
"Just run the test again," Ryan ordered, doing his best to remain removed from the discussion.
Fat chance of that. The woman who had just told him that the blood belonged to his sister, Greta, was the same woman he had once been seriously involved with. The same woman, after their relationship had become serious, he had deliberately cut off all ties with.
He'd been a Marine back then, home on leave, when their paths had first crossed. They had hit it off instantlyhot and heavy, and very, very serious. He spent every moment he could with her, and she with him. Neither of their families knew about their relationship because they never made time for anyone else. It was as if somehow, subconsciously, they both understood that they were on a timetable. When he received word that he was being deployed overseas again, Susie had naturally been upset, but she'd promised to wait for him no matter how long it took.
That had been the problem. The burden of having someone waiting for him, loving him and praying foScandal leads to death on the Colton ranch in the latest from USA TODAY bestselling author Marie Ferrarella.
When murder strikes his family's ranch, Detective Ryan Colton follows the evidence
straight to his sister. Instinct tells him she's innocent. But once her DNA is found at the scene, Ryan goes head-to-head with the forensics expert he'd hoped to avoid. Susie Howardthe beautiful woman he once loved
Seeing Ryan again has Susie doubting everything, especially her resolution to forget the sexy, rugged cowboy cop. If her intuition is wrong, then the real killer is still at large and has the Coltons in his sights. Teaming up with Ryan is the only way for him to save his familyand his second chance with her.