Midnight Shadows (Love Inspired Suspense)

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9780373445233: Midnight Shadows (Love Inspired Suspense)
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With a relentless stalker after her, Melissa Langston flees Georgia for her small Florida hometown. Despite changing her name, she soon finds anonymous notes on her doorstep and a menacing figure lurking in the shadows. She's sure her stalker has tracked her down, but the police think she's overreacting. The only one who believes she's in danger is the former cop who broke her heart years ago. Melissa is afraid to get too close to ex-fiancé Chris Jamison, who is back in town to settle family business. Because the more she turns to the handsome man she's never forgotten, the more her stalker wants Chris gone?permanently.

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About the Author:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol's resume reads like someone who doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. But her one constant has always been her love for writing. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and enjoys sailing, hiking and camping. Her daughters and grandson live too far away for her liking, so she pours all that nurturing into caring for three fat cats and one spoiled dog

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It was the kind of day that made her wish she had kept hitting the snooze button.

One of the worst since returning to Harmony Grove four months ago. Nothing catastrophic—no earthquakes or hurricanes or even small house fires. Her escape-artist cat was recaptured and locked safely inside, she had plenty of bread to replace the two burnt slices, and her clothes had finally dried after her sprint into her office through pouring rain. Just lots of minor annoyances that had a way of ruining a person's day.

But it was almost over. One more deposition and she could go home, provided the roof didn't fall in.

Melissa took a seat at the end of the table and began to set up her steno machine. Then her gaze dropped to the deposition notice, and she froze, one hand on the tripod and the other sprawled across the top of the machine.

Christopher Jamison.

The roof could have fallen in at that moment. She probably wouldn't have noticed.

She stared at the name and wrestled in a breath through constricted airways. The vise that gripped her heart was painfully familiar. So was the bitterness gnawing a hole in her gut. But that was ancient history. She had conquered any stray feelings for Chris Jamison, beating them into submission until they retreated, cowering, to some dark, untouched corner of her heart. When that hadn't worked, she had shoved them aside with frenzied activity.

Her eyes swept over the name again. It couldn't be the same Chris Jamison. Hers had left Florida five years ago, with no intention of coming back. Of course, so had she. Life had a way of disrupting the best of plans.

Two attorneys entered, and when the buzzer on the conference room phone sounded, Attorney Daniels held the receiver to his ear. "Great. I'll meet him at the top of the stairs."

Her heart jumped to double time, and a sudden sheet of moisture coated her palms. There weren't many names on her People-I-Hope-to-Never-See-Again list, but Chris Jamison's was right near the top. She wiped her hands on her skirt, then brushed imaginary specks from the lacquered mahogany conference table. Moments later, voices drifted into the room.

"Mr. Jamison? I'm Jonathan Daniels."

"Chris Jamison. Sorry I'm late. The Friday afternoon traffic was worse than I expected."

Oh, no, it's him! That smooth, rich baritone was unmistakable. A bolt of panic shot through her, and she glanced wildly around the room, looking for a way of escape. There was the open door, with Mr. Daniels and his witness just outside, and the window directly behind her. An image sprang to mind—a heel-clad reporter climbing through the opening and plopping unceremoniously into the bushes below—and the panic threatened to give way to hysterical laughter. She struggled to compose herself. Any second he would walk through the door.

Her hands flew to her hair, which wasn't likely to go anywhere. It was pulled into a French braid and secured with a silver clip, an emergency purchase after her rain fiasco. And her skirt and jacket were fine. She resisted the urge to straighten them and willed her body to relax. If she couldn't feel confident, she could at least look it.

No amount of willpower, however, could prepare her for the moment he stepped inside. Five long years slipped away in an instant, and every sweet moment they had ever shared crashed back on her in one massive wave.

Little had changed. He had obviously kept up his gym membership—the pale blue sports shirt and dark dress jeans couldn't camouflage the rock-hard body beneath. And his sandy-blond hair was as thick as ever, an irresistible mix of styled good taste and windswept charm. He stood with one thumb hooked into his jeans pocket, the epitome of confidence, making her loss of composure feel that much more complete.

"And," Mr. Daniels continued, "this is Melissa Morris, our court reporter."

Chris started to nod, then froze midgreeting. His dark eyes registered recognition, then denial, realization and finally shock. His lower jaw went slack, and he stared at her in wide-eyed silence. Seeing him so befuddled boosted her own sagging confidence, and she was again struck with an irrational urge to laugh. She squelched the urge, but couldn't conquer the grin quivering at the corners of her mouth.

He recovered all too quickly. Hardness crept into his gaze, and he acknowledged her with a curt nod. "Pleased to meet you."

The lie rolled easily off his tongue. But a muscle twitched in his lower jaw, calling him out. He was anything but pleased.

Mr. Daniels indicated the chair next to her. "Have a seat, and we'll get this over with."

She jerked her gaze away from Chris to the attorney. His words seemed oddly out of place. How could life continue uninterrupted when her whole world had been turned upside down?

She nodded and gathered her scattered thoughts. Those eyes once again settled on her, dark and brooding. What was his problem? After all, he was the one who had withheld his trust and made ridiculous accusations. But she was the one who had walked in on every woman's worst nightmare. And the one left with the distasteful job of "uninviting" 175 guests to a wedding that would never take place.

"Raise your right hand, please." As soon as she began to administer the oath, she got tongue-tied. Her mouth didn't want to cooperate. The pleasant aroma of her after-lunch breath mint was long gone, replaced by a distinct flavor of metal, as if she had chewed and swallowed a box of nails. She shot a prayer heavenward and tried again, this time successful.

Mr. Daniels began his questioning. "State your name for the record, please."

"Christopher Wayne Jamison."

"What is your residence address?"

She stopped, fingers suspended over the keys. Lakeland! What was he doing in central Florida?

The deposition continued—question, answer, question, answer—and she skillfully recorded every word. He was in Florida temporarily running his father's marine store, on leave from the Memphis Police Department, which meant he wasn't going to stay. He had visited a year earlier and witnessed the defendant run a red light and slam into the plaintiff. And he remembered the defendant appeared intoxicated, an observation that drew an objection from Mr. Edwards, attorney for the defense.

But the answers she really wanted wouldn't come out in testimony. Namely, did his life turn out as he had hoped, or did he kick himself for the choices he had made? Had she invaded his thoughts as much as he had hers over the past five years? And why did he blame her for what went wrong between them, when he was the one who messed up?

Mr. Daniels finished his questioning, and Attorney Edwards began his cross-examination. Thank goodness, it was almost over. Sitting next to Chris for the past thirty minutes was like slowly tearing the scab from a wound, which made no sense. Any wounds he had inflicted had long since healed over. At least she thought they had. It was easy to convince herself she was over him when he was three hundred miles away.

"No further questions." Mr. Edwards laid down his pen.

A familiar uneasiness crept over her, that hollow-gut-compressed-chest sensation she used to get before a presentation or big test. Lord, please don't make me have to talk to him. She hauled in a stabilizing breath. If she took her time packing up her equipment, Chris would be gone before she reached the parking lot.

Or not. Mr. Daniels addressed him. "How's the marine business?"

"Pretty busy, actually, in spite of the poor economy."

"Glad to hear it. I'm a regular customer of yours. I've been restoring an old Chris-Craft, so Jamison Marine has become a regular entry on my credit card statements. You know the definition of a boat—a hole in the water you throw money into."

Chris laughed. "You got that right. 'Boat' is an acronym. It stands for 'break out another thousand.'" He leaned back in his chair, lips curved into a relaxed smile, warm and friendly. That smile wasn't for her. But her heart answered with an unexpected flutter anyway.

She dropped her gaze and slid her steno machine into its case. Keep talking. It didn't matter who left first, as long as they didn't leave together. If she got her equipment packed up quickly enough, he would still be knee-deep in boat talk.

That wasn't unusual for Chris—both the topic and the ease of conversation. He had that smooth, simple manner that encouraged openness, even from total strangers. And a smile that could charm the slippers right off an ice princess. But she wasn't going to think about that.

Soon her notice, pen and tape recorder were tucked away, along with the steno machine. And that was the moment the conversation died. Chris stood to leave, and because she had no other choice, she did, too.

He followed her into the hall. "I thought you were living in Atlanta."

"And I thought you were in Tennessee."

"I was till three weeks ago. My dad died suddenly, so I came back to wrap things up."

"I'm sorry." She really was. "I didn't know."

"It was unexpected. He was fine one minute, dead of a heart attack the next."

He swung open the heavy oak door and held it for her. The instant she stepped through, a wall of heat and humidity pressed into her, sucking the air from her lungs. The day's sporadic rain showers had finally stopped, and the sun was out full force, transforming the parking lot into a concrete sauna. She sucked in a steamy breath. Fall was less than two weeks away. But someone forgot to tell Florida.

He let the door swing shut. "I've taken a three-month leave of absence from the force, but hopefully it won't take that long to find a buyer for the house and store."

"I see." She unclipped her keys from the D-ring on the side of her purse and started across the parking lot. ...

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Book Description STEEPLE HILL, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. With a relentless stalker after her, Melissa Langston flees Georgia for her small Florida hometown. Despite changing her name, she soon finds anonymous notes on her doorstep and a menacing figure lurking in the shadows. She s sure her stalker has tracked her down, but the police think she s overreacting. The only one who believes she s in danger is the former cop who broke her heart years ago. Melissa is afraid to get too close to ex-fiance Chris Jamison, who is back in town to settle family business. Because the more she turns to the handsome man she s never forgotten, the more her stalker wants Chris gone--permanently. Seller Inventory # BRD9780373445233

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Book Description STEEPLE HILL, United States, 2013. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. With a relentless stalker after her, Melissa Langston flees Georgia for her small Florida hometown. Despite changing her name, she soon finds anonymous notes on her doorstep and a menacing figure lurking in the shadows. She s sure her stalker has tracked her down, but the police think she s overreacting. The only one who believes she s in danger is the former cop who broke her heart years ago. Melissa is afraid to get too close to ex-fiance Chris Jamison, who is back in town to settle family business. Because the more she turns to the handsome man she s never forgotten, the more her stalker wants Chris gone--permanently. Seller Inventory # BRD9780373445233

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