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:~: Friday, November 30, 2007 :~:


A man in the worst place he can be—between two women—and forced to choose which one lives or dies

What Mattered Most by Linda Winfree

Houston homicide detective John O'Reilly is torn between two women. One is the woman he's loved without hope for years. The other carries his unborn child. Now, a man bent on revenge wants O'Reilly to choose, and any choice he makes could cost him everything.

Gutsy sheriff’s deputy Lanie Falconetti is determined not to repeat her mother’s mistakes in love. Her no-strings attached affair with John O’Reilly leads to an unexpected, but joyfully welcomed pregnancy. However, the shadow from John’s past threatens not only her chance at happiness, but her life and that of her unborn baby as well.


John swam in a thick grayness, somewhere between light and dark. His body felt as though he should be in pain, but the sensation hovered just out of reach. The cold was real, and shivers racked him.
“John?” A lyrical voice soothed over his nerves, warm fingers stroking his jaw. He turned toward the warmth. Lips brushed his. “I love you.”
He struggled to open his eyes. “Beth?”
Warm fingers linked through his. “No, it’s me.”
Weighted lids lifted, and the grayness receded in the piercing fluorescent light. He recoiled then focused on the face above him. Warmth and peace trickled through him. “Lanie.”
“I wondered if you were ever going to wake up.” She blinked, tears sparkling on her long, dark lashes. What had happened to bring that look of strain to her face? Her fingers danced over his jaw again. “I love you, O’Reilly.”
Remembrance flooded his mind – Beth’s screams, Mitchell’s curses, the bullet burning his shoulder. He struggled to sit up, and the lurking pain tore through his chest. “Beth. Oh, my God, Beth. Got to find her-”
Lanie’s hands pushed at his arms. “Stop. You can’t-”
He thrust her away, his arms heavy and uncoordinated, agony shooting through him with each movement. He ignored it. “Damn it, I’ve got to find Beth.”
“Everyone’s looking for her ... John, you’re going to pull out your-”
A sharp stinging tore through his hand, and he stared at the blood spurting from his skin, the intravenous line lying useless on the bed now. He shoved to a sitting position, his head swimming.
“Oh, hell.” Lanie tried to push him back again, reaching for the call button at the same time.
“He’ll kill her. I’ve got to find her.”
“John. Stop it.” Lanie took his face in her hands, her hazel gaze holding his. He stilled, breathing hard, impatience and terror pounding under his skin. “The FBI is here. The Texas Rangers, too. They’ve sealed off the county, and a door-to-door search is underway. They’re going to find Beth and Nicole. I promise.”
Screams and blood filled his mind again. He pulled her hands away, blood dripping down his forearm, and shook his head, trying to clear the dizzy fuzziness. “You don’t understand. She needs me.”
“I do understand. And you can help her best by getting better.” Lanie’s soothing tone grated against his ears.
“You don’t understand.” He snarled the words at her, and she stepped back, a startled expression crossing her face. “You can’t.”
A nurse materialized at his bedside. She exchanged a glance with Lanie. “Mr. O’Reilly? Lie back and let me put your IV line back in.”
Nausea and panic clawed in his throat. “No. I don’t need it.”
“Yes, you do.”
“John.” Lanie’s voice slipped from soothing to authoritative, the tone he knew she used with recalcitrant suspects. “You are not leaving that bed. Now, you can either let her put the line back in, or we can strap you to the bed and then she can put it back in.”
He glared at her, almost hating her for standing between him and Beth’s safety. “You wouldn’t dare.”
Her golden eyes narrowed. “Try me. Steve’s on the other side of that door, and I know he has his cuffs with him.”
With a growled curse, he subsided and allowed the nurse to replace the line. His gaze remained locked on Lanie’s throughout the procedure, although dizziness attacked him again. When the needle was in place again, Lanie smiled grimly. “Now. What did you mean, he’ll kill her? Who is he?”
Agitation crawled along his nerves. “Doug Mitchell. Beth’s ex-husband.”
Startled confusion settled on her face. “I thought-”
“I need to get the hell out of here.”
“You need to rest. If you’ll be a good boy, I’ll go see if there’s any news, okay?”
The brief struggle had exhausted him. The gray depths pulled at him, and he fought the sucking heaviness. He had to stay awake, had to help Beth. He had to-
“Rest.” Lanie’s whisper and her gentle touch washed over him once more. “I’ll be right back.”
The gray rushed in on him, and awareness vanished.

Link to book.



Blogger Joan Swan said...

I got mine, Wednesday! Soooooooo exciting to see it in print and hold it in my hands!!!


2:29 PM  

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