Ready to hit the reset button on life, Emma Kincaid embraces her unexpected inheritance and heads to Hangman’s Loss, the only place she’s ever experienced happiness. But when her garage goes up in flames and someone breaks in, it soon becomes clear that Emma is the target of something far worse than malicious pranks. To survive, she’ll have to trust the local chief of police—an impossible task because Emma’s past taught her not to trust men in uniform.
Everyone in Hangman’s Loss trusts Bradley Gallagher to protect them; he’s the Chief of Police. Everyone that is except prickly newcomer Emmaline Kincaid. But when the attacks on her continue, Brad will do everything in his power to keep her safe, including putting his life on the line.
The race to find the predator forces Brad and Emma to work together. Sparks fly as they butt heads, but a gun aimed at the heart has a way of shaking up priorities. Can they trust one another enough to have a future?
Genre: Contemporary romance, suspense/thriller, action/adventure
Heat level: 3
Word count – 61k
Cover art by Tibbs Designs
Not giving herself time to change her mind, Emma crouched low and ran.
She sprinted through the clearing, eyes focused on her goal. A black shadow, darker than the rest, detached from the corner of the building. She reacted in an instant, but it was an instant too late. She dodged, tried to brace for impact, and was taken down in a diving roll to just under the garage window. Her attacker took the brunt of the fall, and Emma landed heavily against a solid body, her flashlight knocked from her grip. Heart slamming in her throat, adrenaline kicked in and she scrambled to disentangle arms and legs. She bit back on a scream. She couldn’t bring Dory rushing into trouble. Struggling desperately, she tried to dislodge a calloused palm that closed over her mouth. “Dammit, Emma! It’s me.”
Emma stilled instantly. Brad’s arms tightened around her as she sagged against him and relief washed through her. He rolled so she was farther under the shadow of the eaves. He pulled her up with him into a crouching position, an arm around her shoulders. Voice low, his lips moved against her ear as he spoke. “There’s one man inside and the back door is open. I’ve been watching for an accomplice but haven’t spotted anyone. I think he’s alone.”
Even in shadow Emma could see Brad scanning the terrain. The hand cupped at the back of her head pulled her closer. Voice rough, he whispered, “I called for backup but dispatch said there’s an accident out on the highway and all our cars are out there. She’ll peel one away, but it’ll be a few minutes before it gets here.”
He paused, breath warm on her cheek. He cocked his head, listening, a finger to his lips. Then she could hear it too, a whooshing sound from inside the garage. Brad reacted instantaneously, pushing Emma to the ground, using his body to shield her. The window above them exploded. Glass shattered outward and flames shot from the window.
An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Diane has always favored stories with strong female characters who went on adventures and could think themselves out of the most dangerous situations. It’s no surprise that those are the kinds of books she enjoys writing.
Diane loves the outdoors and reflects this passion in her books. Born and raised in southern California, family vacations invariably meant camping in locations ranging from Big Sur to Death Valley. Her debut novel is a fictional town set in one of her favorite areas, the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Her love of travel took her to Sweden as an exchange student when she was sixteen and backpacking around Great Britain (after a week in Paris) while in college. Taking the kids on a cross country road trip would have turned out better if the last Harry Potter novel hadn’t just been released. They remember Harry searching for Horcruxes more than camping in a cornfield in Illinois.
When not writing exciting tales of women in danger, Diane spends her time at her day job (teaching US History), gardening, and bugging her husband to finish the house remodel. She is a member of two chapters of the Romance Writers of America, the East Valley Authors and the Orange County Chapter.