Dangerous Passions Box Set, Day 3: Bridger’s Last Stand by Linda Winstead Jones
Posted by Opal Carew
Hello again, I hope you’re having a wonderful week! If today’s been a little gloomier than usual, just remember that there are infinite possibilities and you never know when a hero (maybe you, maybe a stranger) will emerge and save the day! That, and someone out there is probably having a worse day than you! Case-in-point: Today’s selection from the Dangerous Passions Box Set brings us two people who had a bad day that was made better by a steamy night– only to have one of them become witness to a murder. To escape danger once and for all, the two of them must hunt down the murderer and bring them to justice. Here is Bridger’s Last Stand by bestselling author, Linda Winstead Jones.
In the grand scheme of things, Detective Malcolm Bridger’s day was much worse than Frannie Vaughn’s.
She’d had a bad day…
As if getting fired wasn’t bad enough, the haircut Frannie got to cheer herself up was a complete disaster.
He’d had a bad day…
Homicide Detective Mal Bridger had never killed a man. Until today.
They meet by chance, and one very bad day turns into a pretty good night. But when their one night stand makes Frannie a witness to murder and puts her in danger, Mal refuses to let her out of his sight until the murderer is caught.
He never meant to be a hero, and she never knew she needed one . . .
Dangerous Passions eBook box set releases March 3rd for the special price of $0.99! Preorder today!!
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The music came to an end, and they stopped moving. Bridger didn’t let her go right away, but held her hand and kept a steadying arm around her. “Maybe we shouldn’t blow up the jukebox after all,” he whispered.
Another selection soon took the place of the slow love song, and the spell was broken. Harsh sounds filled the bar, and Frannie jerked her head around to look at the jukebox. “That’s it,” she said, forgetting Reese and her lost job. Bridger’s arms fell away. “What?” He faced the jukebox with her, his entire body alert as he faced an unseen threat.
“That’s the noise my car’s making.” A man with a reverberating deep voice was repeating a short phrase, quick, choppy and harsh, the sound vibrating through tinny speakers. It sounded just like the engine of her ancient Buick.
Bridger relaxed visibly and led her back to the bar. “I don’t know a lot about cars, but I’d say that’s at least a five-hundred-dollar noise.”
“That’s what I was afraid of.”
They reclaimed their stools, side by side. The place was uncomfortably empty without the chattering women they’d listened to all evening. Frannie played with what was left of her drink.
It was melted, unappetizing, and she’d had her limit, anyway. But she didn’t want to leave. What did she have waiting for her at home? She loved her little house, but there was nothing—no one—waiting for her there. There were just messages from her mother and a little harsh reality, and she was in no mood to face either at the moment.
An old man, the last of the night’s crowd but for Bridger and Frannie, tossed a bill onto the table and weaved his way to the door, waving over his shoulder to Benny.
“He’s not going to drive, is he?” Frannie asked as she watched the man stumble, check the floor for a nonexistent hazard, and move on.
“No,” Bridger answered. “I’ve seen him around. He lives around the corner in that old department store they converted into apartments a couple years back.”
“Last call,” Benny said cheerfully, and they twirled around to face him as he placed two fresh drinks on the bar. “This round’s on me.”
The jukebox was silent at last. Benny was turning the chairs up on the tables that were scattered throughout the room, preparing to sweep up and close for the night.
Frannie didn’t want to go home. She played with the drink before her, stabbing at the frozen concoction with her straw and drinking nothing, delaying the inevitable. Bridger was gloomy again, as miserable as he had been when she’d first arrived and seen him sitting there staring into his drink. Maybe he didn’t want to go home, either.
They hadn’t talked about the shooting since he’d told her what happened, but it had to be on his mind. He’d saved lives today, but he’d also taken one. That couldn’t be easy. She glanced again at the gun he wore.
She liked Bridger too much. It wasn’t just that he was pleasant to talk to, or that he was a great dancer. He had a kind soul, and she’d known it after talking to him for five minutes. She sat beside a kind soul in a six-foot-plus body, a guardian angel with a gun strapped to his belt, a man who could love a woman and protect her from anything.
Two drinks and she was hallucinating. “Good night, Detective Bridger,” she said, a false brightness in her voice as she slid from the bar stool and put those ideas out of her mind. “Thanks for commiserating with me.”
He mumbled something that sounded like “any time,” but she couldn’t be sure.
“Good-night, Benny,” she said without looking back. “I’m going to make a pit stop and then I’m headed for home.”
She really didn’t want to go home, back to the house that was small and yet too big for one person, back to the messages from her mother that she would eventually have to answer, back to the reality that she didn’t have a job anymore. She was at a crossroads, and she didn’t know where to go from here.
When she came out of the rest room, she was surprised to find Bridger waiting for her. He was leaning against the wall by the pay phone with his head down and his hands in his pockets.
As the ladies’ room door swung closed, he lifted his head.
When his eyes latched on to hers her heart skipped a beat. Malcolm Bridger had cop’s eyes: eyes that had seen too much and never missed anything. How could eyes like that be anything but lonely?
“I can’t let you drive home,” he said softly.
“I walked,” she said quickly. “I wanted to show that good-for-nothing car of mine that I didn’t need it. My house isn’t too far. I don’t think it took me twenty minutes to get here.” Of course, it had started raining on her when she’d been halfway to Rick’s. Maybe walking hadn’t been such a good idea after all.
“I’ll drive you,” he said, never moving from the spot where he’d planted his feet. She had the impression it was a statement, not an offer.
She was treading on very dangerous ground, and she knew it. She should play it safe, brush him off, call a cab, maybe laugh at him for good measure. Frannie Vaughn did not make a habit of picking up strangers in bars. She was a good girl, a cautious woman. Her mother had taught her well, by bad example if not design.
So why did she have the overwhelming desire to walk into Detective Bridger’s arms and ask him to hold her tight?
Why did she want to bury her face against his chest and breathe deeply once again?
Loneliness, certainly. Lust, maybe. She wasn’t particularly well acquainted with the latter.
About Opal CarewHi. I’m Opal Carew and I write erotic romance for St. Martin’s Press and Samhain Publishing, and I self-publish stories. I also write romance as Amber Carew. So why do I like writing erotic romance? I like being able to push beyond traditional boundaries. I like dealing with a female character who is growing and evolving – questioning her sexual boundaries and pushing past them. My stories usually include menage a trois. It is great fun to write a heroine choosing between two equally appealing heroes... or more. These aren’t women who just jump into bed with anyone. They find themselves in an unusual situation – something exciting and erotic – but a situation where they have to push themselves beyond their comfort level. As a result, they grow as a person. So often fear holds us back – of what others will think of us, of what we will think about ourselves – and we don’t follow our hearts. These women push past that fear. Get a free erotic romance read by joining my Reader Group. Just copy and paste into your browser ==> OpalCarew.com/ReaderGroup
Posted on February 19, 2015, in Boxed Set, Heroes, New Releases and tagged Action, Alpha, alpha male, anthology, Author, Bestseller, boxed set, Cops, romance, Romantic suspense. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.