Whispers & Lies
Silhouette Intimate Moments
September 2005
ISBN: 0-373-27456-4

Excerpt




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 A man was pointing a gun at her...

...and he was her father. A man Lou McAndrews hadn't even known existed until a few days ago; a man whose political clout gave him enough incentive to make her disappear. With the shattering discovery that her whole life was a lie, the last thing the beleaguered veterinarian needed was Will Jamison back in town. The six-foot-tall heartbreaker had been the secret love of Lou's young life an now he seemed intrigued by her. As a crusading reporter, Will fought to unlock the secrets of her past...and give her hope for a future neither might live to see....




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Excerpt
PROLOGUE: TODAY

And I write all this now, so if something happens to me, something suspicious, it will serve to set the authorities on the right path. Perhaps I am a coward; still it is my fondest wish that what I have recounted here will never be seen. There are too many secrets that could harm too many innocent people. But if it is read, I will be gone, and so I leave the living to make their own decisions and to find their own peace.

Rita Conlan

Hot tears streaking her cheeks, Lou read the final sentence several times. Then she closed the diary, which contained the answers to so many questions, some she’d had all her life, and some she’d never even known to ask until just a few days ago. It also set up some new ones.

She shook her head, murmuring, “My father is a monster.”

The only other living creature in the room, her newly adopted kitten Anthony, raised his head up from her lap and gave her a golden-eyed blink. Absently, Lou scratched around the kitten’s ears and stared into the fireplace. She wished it could warm her. Even though an early summer storm raged outside her windows, it wasn’t really cold; still, she was chilled through and through.

What she’d spoken aloud was the truth, and it hurt; her father was, at minimum, an amoral and egocentric human being. It was also possible that he had, quite literally, gotten away with murder.

And now she had to decide just what to do about that.

She reached for her martini glass and took a sip, hoping the clear liquid would make its way down to her stomach and accomplish what the fire didn’t seem able to. Oh, how Will would love to get his hands on this diary, Lou thought. He would probably sell his soul for it.

If he had a soul left.

Will.

Just the thought of him brought up another kind of pain, this one tinged with bitterness. Other women didn’t seem to have her rotten luck with the male sex; why did she keep choosing the ones who would prove untrustworthy?

Cut it out, warned an inner voice, one that had been keeping tabs on her emotional state, it seemed, all her life. Lou was dangerously close to self-pity and she hated that quality in anyone. She was alive. She was free from want. She had many blessings—a good career, lots of friends, good health . . . .

A sudden noise snapped her out of her musings. It was faint at first, barely audible over the percussive sound of raindrops beating hard against windows and on the roof shingles above her. It was a whining sound, and it came from the floor below, which housed her veterinary clinic. They were currently boarding five dogs and one of them, Boris, was just recovering from surgery. Alonzo was on overnight duty—he’d begged for the extra hours to help his growing family.

The whining noise came again, louder now, followed by a yelp of pain. Human pain, this time.

Lou stood, slightly off balance from the martini. Her heart rate began to speed up. What was going on? Where was Alonzo? She raced to the hallway, pulled open the door that led to the inside staircase connecting the clinic below and the living quarters upstairs. Dashing down the stairway, she called out, “Alonzo?”

There was no answer. She pushed through the door at the bottom and stopped dead in her tracks. Alonzo lay on the floor, unconscious, blood pouring from a wound in his forehead. Next to him was Mr. Hyde, a Doberman pinscher, lying on one side. Dead or unconscious, she didn’t know.

Standing over them both was a patrician-looking, silver-haired man she’d met for the first time just recently. He was pointing a gun at her, aimed at her chest. The look in his eye was hard and cold.

The man was her father.

And she had no doubts, none at all, that in a matter of minutes, seconds maybe, she would be dead.

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