Series: Nightshade #2
Published by Emberlust Press on January 9, 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy on IBooks, Buy on Kobo
A serial killer…
A past that haunts no matter how much the distance…
Which one will strike first?
Eighteen deaths over eight years has left Shane Peters itching to find his mark. The death that started it all ensured his obsession with the murderer who had turned his life into a living hell, leaving him to raise a newborn daughter on his own.
Starting over wasn’t the easiest thing, but Emberlyn Roth had managed by shear grit and the skin of her teeth. It’s too bad one can’t outrun their past.
A protector of the wronged, Shane is torn between his duty as a detective for the Jacksonville PD and a quest to find himself some peace. Red tape binds his capabilities and moonlighting as an investigator for Nightshade Securities has him feeling stretched thin. Late nights on the streets and his sense of duty keeps him from being the father he wants to be. Throw onto his already rickety house of cards, an attraction to the mysterious Emberlyn, the lead he’s got on the murderer he’s been hunting for nearly a decade, and threats his woman is receiving by an unsavory character from her past, and he’s seriously tempted to take Dalton Kipper’s offer to join his team in a permanent basis.
Rules have a place, but when you’re faced with losing the one that means most to you, lines can become blurred. With the fate of his family’s future hanging in the balance, he’s ready to risk it all.
I watched Emberlyn’s hips swing from side to side as she sauntered-stomped back to her house, thinking that not even Eva would have stood up to me like that. It brought a smile to my face; the first one of the day, as a matter of fact.
The reality that I would have to reiterate the house rules, and discipline my daughter, had me quickly filling with dread. Being a parent sucked ass when it came down to making sure your kid toed the line. I’d much have rather had a playdate at the park.
Turning to enter the house, I found Rosie curled up on Mom’s lap, sobbing into her chest. Mom gave me a sympathetic look, her eyes pleading me to go easy on her.
“Lana Rose, come here,” I demanded softly.
She shook her head, burrowing further into my mother. “Please don’t take her away. I don’t want to lose Ember. She’s my friend. She’s fun. Don’t make her go away, Daddy.”
My heart broke that she thought that of me. “Why would you think that, sweets?” Crouching down to her level, I lifted a hand to push back the strands of hair that had fallen from her ponytail.
“You’re the police,” she said simply, turning to look me in the eye with an incredulous expression. “You make the bad people go away. Ember wasn’t bad. I was. She doesn’t deserve it if you make her go away.”
I gave her a sad smile. “Baby girl, I’m not going to make Ember go away.” I paused to weigh my next words carefully. “But we are going to talk about the rules again, okay?” She nodded, settling her head on my mother’s shoulder. “What’s the first thing we do when we leave school?”
“Go straight home,” she said. “But, Daddy, I was just so–”
“I know you were excited, Rosie. I understand that, but I need you to understand that you have people who will worry that something bad happened, if you don’t do as you promised,” I explained.
She bit her bottom lip, stopping it from its quivering. “I promise I won’t do it again, Daddy.”
Leaning forward, kissing the side of her forehead, I whispered, “That’s good enough for me. Don’t scare me and your grams like that again, please.”
“Good.” I smiled, gifted with one in return from my girl. “Now go get cleaned up for dinner.”
“Okay.” She jumped off Mom’s lap and made her getaway. Pausing at the hallway entrance, she turned to me. “Daddy?”
She seemed to think about what to say, as if she wasn’t sure she should say it at all.
“What is it, Rosie? You can tell me anything.”
“You should maybe say you’re sorry to Ember.” With that, she was out of the room and out of earshot.
Mom spoke next. “She’s right. You were a little harsh on her, dear.”
I had been.
I guess I’ll have to rectify that and soon.
Once Rosie was in bed, and Mom was engrossed in one of her favorite programs, I snuck out of the house.
Brycen had sent me all the information he could gather on Emberlyn.
I’d spent the better part of the evening digesting what I’d read, wondering, what with her past, how she’d managed to stand up to me as she had. It didn’t take a genius to know that I was an imposing man, but with what she’d been through, I sure as hell wouldn’t have expected her to hold her own.
Suffice to say, I felt like a total asshole.
My knuckle met the wood of her front door, rapping on it three times.
I attempted it twice more before she opened.
“Listen, when someone doesn’t open after your first knock, and they’re home, it usually means that they don’t want to see you,” she snapped, crossing her arms over her chest. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like for you to leave.”
“I’m sorry,” I blurted. “I overreacted, said a bunch of shit I didn’t mean. You didn’t deserve that.”
“I didn’t deserve a lot of things.” She huffed. “But it doesn’t mean I didn’t end up with it either. Apology accepted. Now get lost.”
She went to slam the door in my face, but I stuck a booted foot out to block its progress.
“Come to dinner tomorrow night.”
That got me a wide-eyed look. “Are you out of your mind?”
“Let me make it up to you,” I told her. “I know one little girl who’d love to know she hasn’t lost a friend because her dad reached a new level of asshole.” She seemed to ponder my words, so I pushed further. “Please?”
“On one condition,” she said.
“Uh…” I didn’t know what to say to that.
“Rosie gets to come over tomorrow. I promised her we’d make her lip gloss today, but I never went to pick up some of the ingredients I needed for it, so I said we’d get together tomorrow,” she explained.
“I have no problem with that.” Her lips stayed in a firm line at my words, but her eyes shined with pure joy. Fuck, I liked that look on her. Probably more than I should.
Looking down at my foot, I clued in that she was silently asking me to pull it back.
“What time’s dinner?” she asked, the defensiveness gone from her voice.
“Is six okay, or am I taking you and Rosie away from your project?” I smirked.
She smiled. “No, six should be fine.”
“See you then,” I replied.
“Goodnight, Shane.” Without waiting for my response, she shut me out, the sound of a lock engaging lending to our conversation’s finality.
The woman had plenty.
And I was a fan.
“Goodnight,” I said to her door, chuckling as I turned to head back home.