The Bride's Secrets. Debra Webb

The Bride's Secrets - Debra  Webb

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       Eve had risked her life to ensure he got out first.

      Why would she put his life before hers? Was it possible she did have feelings for him?

      He scrubbed a hand over his face. He was borrowing trouble. When this was over, she would be gone.

      Just like before.

      There were no words to accurately explain how he’d felt that day in the chapel when she hadn’t shown. His whole world had felt as if it were ending. Then he’d diverted all that pain into anger and the need to find the truth.

      Had he found it?

      He still didn’t even know her name. Just Eve. And yet he knew more about her after the past seventy-two hours than he had in two months…before.

       Available in April 2010 from Mills & Boon® Intrigue

       Secret Delivery

      by Delores Fossen & Her 24-Hour Protector by Loreth Anne White

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      The Rancher Bodyguard by Carla Cassidy & Kincaid’s Dangerous Game by Kathleen Creighton

      The Bride’s Secrets by Debra Webb

      Cry of the Wolf by Karen Whiddon

      Sentinels: Lion Heart by Doranna Durgin

      The Bride’s Secrets


      Debra Webb

      publisher logoMILLS & BOON®

      Debra Webb was born in Scottsboro, Alabama, to parents who taught her that anything is possible if you want it badly enough. She began writing at the age of nine. Eventually, she met and married the man of her dreams and tried some other occupations, including selling vacuum cleaners, working in a factory, a daycare centre, a hospital and a department store. When her husband joined the military, they moved to Berlin and Debra became a secretary in the commanding general’s office. By 1985 they were back in the States and finally moved to Tennessee, to a small town where everyone knows everyone else. With the support of her husband and two beautiful daughters, Debra took up writing again, looking to mysteries and movies for inspiration. In 1998, her dream of writing came true. You can write to Debra with your comments at PO Box 64, Huntland, Tennessee 37345, USA, or visit her website at to find out exciting news about her next book.

       Chapter One

       Chicago, 9:30 a.m.

      The Colby Agency’s conference room overflowed with staff members. All were present for this morning’s meeting, except the newest investigator on staff. Well, the newest member until their recent hire of Merrilee Walters. J.T. Baxley had taken a bullet last night while serving on Victoria’s personal security detail.

      Victoria Colby-Camp sat at the head of the long Mahogany table, listening as Ian Michaels reviewed the tightened security measures. Last night’s attack had confirmed the worst.

      The risk to her granddaughter’s safety was no longer mere theory or rumor. It was real.

      Too real.

      Increasing fear pumped through Victoria’s veins with every frantic beat of her heart. Nothing she or her people had done so far had given them the answers for which they searched.

      Every lead turned into a dead end.

      Yet, someone out there continued to attempt to get to her granddaughter.

      Her loyal staff began filing out of the room. Victoria blinked, dragged her focus back to the present. She hadn’t realized Ian had concluded his briefing.

      Ian settled in a chair to her right; Simon Ruhl did the same on her left.

      These two men were Victoria’s most trusted associates, professional and personal. Yet, like her, they could only react to the threat. Whoever was behind this had burrowed so deeply beneath multiple ambiguous layers of disinformation that it would take time—precious time—to ferret them out.

      This was the first occasion in the Colby Agency’s prestigious history that Victoria had no choice but to admit they were mystified.

      “Last night—” Simon kicked off the overview of the few known facts “—an attempt was made to abduct Jamie.”

      The sound of a bullet shattering the windshield, killing the driver, echoed through Victoria’s mind. Three were dead, including two unidentified males involved in the abduction attempt. Two others had fled the scene. Though J.T. Baxley had taken a bullet; he’d been treated and released at the E.R. Still, the risk to his life—to her granddaughter’s—had shaken Victoria to the core.

      “Have we learned anything new?” Otherwise she saw no need to go over those horrendous details yet again. Another image, this one of her pulling the trigger, ending the life of the man with the gun aimed at her face, erupted in her mind.

      She’d had no choice… And still, the realization deeply disturbed her.

      Rather than answering her question, Ian and Simon exchanged a long look. Now she understood.

      “You believe it’s an inside job.” It pained Victoria to say the words.

      “Yes,” Ian confirmed.

      “That’s the only way anyone could have known your schedule for last evening,” Simon clarified. “None of us want to believe that’s possible.”

      “At this point—” Ian picked up where Simon left off “—we have to face that undeniable possibility.”

      Victoria took a breath, her chest tightening with the emotions charging through her. “Do you have a suspect?”

      Her closest confidants shared another look.

      She wasn’t going to like their conclusion. Victoria wasn’t happy with the concept in general, but obviously the answer was going to be even less palatable.

       The Bride’s Secrets

      “J.T. Baxley,” Ian stated.

      J.T.? “I was at his christening.” Victoria had just graduated from university at the time. One of her dearest friends had opted for marriage over college, and J.T. had been her first and only child.

      Simon nodded his understanding. “We fully understand that you’ve known J.T. and his family for years. But he was one of the few who had access to last night’s schedule.”

      That was true. J.T. had been a part of her security detail last night. And he’d paid the price.

      Victoria shook her head. “This simply isn’t possible.” She had sought out J.T. when his mother had relayed that he had left the insurance industry. Victoria had hoped for years that she would be able to lure him to the Colby Agency. Only a few months ago that opportunity had arisen. He’d signed on as a member of her Reconnaissance group.

      “J.T. ignored the all-hands call this morning.”

      Simon’s announcement sent a new kind of fear throttling through Victoria. “Has anyone checked on him?” The man had been shot for God’s sake. Though the shot appeared to have been clean, in and out of the biceps with no apparent serious damage, there was always the chance something had been missed. With any sort of penetrating wound, internal bleeding was always a concern. She’d thought nothing of his absence, considering what he’d

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