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Marilyn Pappano

Undercover in Copper Lake

Marilyn Pappano Undercover In Copper Lake
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Series:

Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Excerpt from book:

A stiff breeze blew in off the harbor, carrying with it the smells of salt and fish and pollution, along with a chilly hint of fall on its way. Sean Holigan stood in the shadows of two buildings, face to the water, and toyed with the cigarette he held. Though he hadn't had a smoke in six and a half months, the temptation to light it was there, the desire no less than it had been 195 days before.

But the flare of the lighter, the glowing end of the cigarette and the acrid blue-gray smoke would be like a neon sign pointing straight at him. Not the best idea, since the last place anyone expected him to be at 3:00 a.m. on a Sunday was on the docks. If his boss or their buddies found him there, it was a sure bet he would pay the price for it. He just didn't know how big a price that would be.

Maybe, probably, death.

Fog swirled around the two massive warehouses that shielded him and turned the cargo containers stacked between them and the water into islands of dull metal. The damp seeped into his jacket and misted across his skin. It darkened the thin paper of the cigarette wrapper and increased the stiffness in the middle three fingers of his left hand. Ever since he'd gotten them caught between an engine and a car frame three years ago, those fingers had developed an aversion to cold and damp.

He'd been waiting more than ten minutes without bothering to check his watch when he sensed rather than heard someone approaching. Like him, Alexandra Baker was always early to these meetings. Unlike him, she completed a thorough check of the area before appearing before him, tonight from around a corner, like a magician's illusion.

She wore dark clothing, dark shoes, a dark hood covering her white-blond hair and casting her pale face in darkness. She could stand absolutely still on a night like this and blend completely into the background. The way she moved and walked and talked was unnaturally quiet, still. Illusion was a good description of her. Since she'd first approached him three months ago, she seemed about as real as a dream.

A bad dream.

"Why do you tempt yourself?" she asked, her voice quiet but not soft, her question personal but lacking curiosity.

He glanced at the cigarette, shrugged and slid it into his jacket pocket. "Why do you get me up in the middle of the night?"

"Because I know Kolinski's tucked safely in bed."

Craig Kolinski. His boss. His best bud for thirteen years. The man responsible for Sean's relatively comfortable life. The man he was betraying every time he spoke to Baker.

"He's going to ask you to look into something for him tomorrow," she went on. "It'll mean going out of town for a while. You'll agree."

Sean didn't ask how she knew Craig's plans. He figured his boss had more bugs than a Volkswagen plant, thanks to the Drug Enforcement Administration: his house, his cars, his office above the garage, probably even the garage bays themselves. Sean hoped whoever listened to all those hours of tapes got a headache from the constant whine of pneumatic tools.

"Where out of town?"

If it were anyone else, he would have said Baker hesitated, but since she was the calm, collected ice queen, he would call it a pause instead. "Georgia."

A chill passed through him that had nothing to do with the temperature. He'd grown up in Georgia and had left the first chance he'd gotten, swearing he would never return. Nothing, not the family he'd left there, not even the father who'd died there eight years ago, had lured him back.

"Where in Georgia?"

Ice queen or not, this time she flat-out hesitated. She and the DEA knew damn near everything aA past he'd rather forget, a future he secretly longs for… 

 

DEA informant Sean Holigan never imagined he'd return to Copper Lake and revisit the ghosts of his past. But bad memories aren't the only thing waiting for him. With their mother in jail, Sean's nieces are in the care of their foster mother, Sophy Marchand. Years and miles haven't erased Sean's high school memories of the young, studious Sophy, but she certainly has grown up. Beautiful and benevolent, Sophy represents a life, and love, Sean longs for—and one of three lives he must protect. Targeted by ruthless killers, Sophy and the girls depend on Sean…almost as badly as he depends on them.


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