Beachcomber Investigations series book 4
A romantic detective series
Dark and dangerous Dane and shamelessly sexy Shana team up like oil & water on a mission to save a baby while they wage a personal war of love & hate between them.
Ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise doesn’t like cases involving babies. In his experience, they always end bad. Really bad. When Father Donahue hands Shana a baby and the mission is to find the baby’s mother, the ex-Scotland Yard detective can’t resist taking the case. Shana convinces Dane to help her, but he’ll only go so far. Once they discover the priest dragged them into the tip of an iceberg full of trouble with an ex-Russian KGB operative turned-criminal and his comrades involved in a baby farm, things look bad. Really bad.
To keep Dane on the mission, Shana will need to uncover the secret of his terrible past baby case. Can she convince him to put aside his fears to save this baby–and save their partnership too?
Shana hated that Dane could make her uncomfortable with just a look. Not the kind of discomfort that came from trepidation or embarrassment. The kind of discomfort that was all about need.
She watched him—stared really. He sat across from her in their special semicircular booth at the Lucky Parrot, leveling that look at her. She kept herself still. They were partners, for pity’s sake, not lovers.
She flipped her middle finger at him.
It was extreme, but she was extremely out of sorts.
He grinned. It was the whole-enchilada grin—the one that crinkled the corners of his irresistible hazel eyes and made him look vulnerable in spite of his invincible persona. She resisted lunging across the table at him to either grab him around the neck and strangle him breathless, or to grab a fistful of his hair and kiss him breathless. Her nostrils flared.
He grinned wider and she watched his full, trumpet-player-sensual lips move as he said, “What’s the matter Shana? Nothing on the menu interests you?”
“I don’t eat crap.” Two could play at innuendos.
He gentled his grin, possibly calling a truce to the tension, but she couldn’t let it go.
“I never eat this crap. I don’t know why you insist on coming here for breakfast. We should be back at the office—if you can call it an office—scaring up some work.”
He quirked one brow and turned as Marylu Deluzio appeared on cue. She always appeared on cue and had probably overheard every single word. Probably had the table wired. It was Dane’s special table after all. He’d probably given her the latest listening device to plant in case he wanted to bring some nefarious suspect here for secret questioning.
Shana said, “Coffee. Black,” and resisted smacking the plastic menu on the table. She handed it to Marylu. No need to take her mood out on the poor girl.
“Looks like spring is in the air,” Marylu said.
“That must be what has Shana all hot and bothered.” Dane didn’t look at her when he said it. She took a deep breath and did not kick him under the table. He was probably right. Partly right. But then he knew the real problem.
“I’ll have the usual,” he said.
Marylu took the menus and sashayed off, dressed in her barmaid uniform. The Lucky Parrot had only recently opened in the mornings for breakfast. It had been all Dane’s idea. He’d convinced the bar owner that he was wasting his perfectly good kitchen every morning. Once the summer people left Martha’s Vineyard, the Lucky Parrot never stayed open late at night and the owner could use the extra revenue on the off-season.
Apparently Dane’s ideal vision of Vineyard Haven included an all-year-round greasy spoon breakfast diner. He promised he would show up and lend some local color—make sure the Lucky Parrot had a morning crowd.
He was true to his word. The Lucky Parrot was busy. Dane was the draw. He told stories. Old special forces stories. No way of telling whether or not he made them up, but Shana figured at least parts of them were true.
That made Dane give her that special invitational smile again. She kicked him under the table.
“Why do you eat this stuff? You used to eat healthy. You used to have only coffee for breakfast,” she said.
“Did I? How would you know? I once ate a lizard for breakfast.”
She clenched her jaw to prevent another shudder.
“A live lizard.”
He shrugged. Marylu delivered their coffees and he took a sip of his. Shana waited until he had a mouthful before she drank her own. She didn’t want him saying anything to disturb her sip of scalding coffee. It was something he might do. Then he’d claim he was testing her for her own good.
What the hell was she doing here anyway?
He put his cup down and was still, then said, “You thinking of leaving the island, girlie?” He gave her a mild inquiring look as if he were asking her whether she slept well—which she hadn’t. She ought to be used to his sixth sense—his ability to read her mind and see right through her and know what was on her mind before she did.
“No.” It was a knee-jerk response. Telling in itself. She would rise to any challenge he posed. No matter what. He knew that, of course. He made the preemptive challenge so that she would not leave the island. To spite him. In spite of her own restlessness.
“We’ll get a case soon. I feel it.”
She snorted. “That won’t pay for my coffee.”
“I’ll pay for—”
She put up a hand. They’d had this conversation before.
“I don’t want your charity.”
“You’re my partner. We’re in business together. I’m staking some money is all.”
“Call it what you will. I’m taking the next divorce case that comes in and I don’t care what you say.”
She kicked him under the table again and he laughed. “Seriously, Shana. You don’t really want to take a divorce case any more than I do. Besides, the summer people will be back in a couple weeks and you’ll have to give up your place and move back in with me for the season—that’ll save you money.”
She looked at him. He looked serious and unconcerned, like he had no hidden agenda, like there was nothing amiss, no problem at all with anything he’d said.
“Move back in—”
“Mrs. Jones is going to start renting the place weekly soon. Didn’t she mention it to you?”
“You can’t mean—”