Shooting Starr. Kathleen Creighton

Shooting Starr - Kathleen Creighton

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      “The funny thing is, you know, I do trust you.

      “I trust you to behave exactly as you have been, with honor and integrity. The problem is, you and I are on opposite sides of the fence, C.J.”

      “I don’t think that’s true.” His denial was automatic and held no conviction at all.

      Caitlyn shook her head. “You still plan on being a lawyer?”

      “Yes, I sure do.”

      “Well, then? As a lawyer, you are bound as an officer of the court to uphold the law. And there’s no getting around the fact that I—” her smile wavered “—for the best of all possible reasons, am often…shall we say…forced to circumvent it.” She shrugged as if to say, That’s the way it is. What can you do?

      What could he do? What could he say? The answer to that: Not a damn thing.

      Dear Reader,

      The days are hot and the reading is hotter here at Silhouette Intimate Moments. Linda Turner is back with the next of THOSE MARRYING MCBRIDES! in Always a McBride. Taylor Bishop has only just found out about his familial connection—and he has no idea it’s going to lead him straight to love.

      In Shooting Starr, Kathleen Creighton ratchets up both the suspense and the romance in a story of torn loyalties you’ll long remember. Carla Cassidy returns to CHEROKEE CORNERS in Last Seen…, a novel about two people whose circumstances ought to prevent them from falling in love but don’t. On Dean’s Watch is the latest from reader favorite Linda Winstead Jones, and it will keep you turning the pages as her federal marshal hero falls hard for the woman he’s supposed to be keeping an undercover watch over. Roses After Midnight, by Linda Randall Wisdom, is a suspenseful look at the hunt for a serial rapist—and the blossoming of an unexpected romance. Finally, take a look at Debra Cowan’s Burning Love and watch passion flare to life between a female arson investigator and the handsome cop who may be her prime suspect.

      Enjoy them all—and come back next month for more of the best and most exciting romance reading around.



      Leslie J. Wainger

      Executive Editor

      Shooting Starr

      Kathleen Creighton



      has roots deep in the California soil but has relocated to South Carolina. As a child, she enjoyed listening to old timers’ tales, and her fascination with the past only deepened as she grew older. Today, she says she is interested in everything—art, music, gardening, zoology, anthropology and history—but people are at the top of her list. She also has a lifelong passion for writing, and now combines her two loves in romance novels.


      Chapter 1

      Chapter 2

      Chapter 3

      Chapter 4

      Chapter 5

      Chapter 6

      Chapter 7

      Chapter 8

      Chapter 9

      Chapter 10

      Chapter 11

      Chapter 12

      Chapter 13

      Chapter 14

      Chapter 15

      Chapter 16

      Chapter 1

      South Carolina, Early Autumn

      Even with the bruises it was the most beautiful face he’d ever seen. Stark against the pillow, it needed no adornment. Framed in white bandages, the features were pristine, elegant, exquisite. It was a face that belonged in dreams, or fairy tales. Sleeping Beauty, maybe, or Snow White…the enchanted princess waiting for her hero’s kiss.

      If only, he thought, it could be so easy.

      The woman in the bed stirred. Eyes the pale gray-blue of sunlit water swept over him, and his breath caught, then fluttered in uneven breaths.

      Hearing it, she murmured a soft and slurred, “Who’s there?”

      He cleared his throat. “It’s me.” He leaned forward and touched her hand. “C. J. Starr.”

      She closed her eyes and turned her face away. After what seemed a long time, she whispered, “Why are you here?”

      He sat and stared at his hands, loosely clasped between his knees, and tried to think how he could answer that without laying the burden of his guilt on her. Finally he shrugged and mumbled simply, “I wanted to be.”

      “I don’t blame you, you know.” Though still groggy, her voice took on a raspy edge. He looked up and saw that her eyes were wide-open again and gazing at him. Silver eyes. “You did what you had to do. I knew the risks.”

      He shifted restlessly. There was a heaviness in his chest that wouldn’t go away. “If I hadn’t been there—”

      “—I’d have picked somebody else to hijack. I guess that’s true.” There was a pause and then, to his surprise, he heard a whisper of a laugh, soft and ironic. “Of all the truckstops on all the interstates, why’d you have to pull into that one?”

      He angled his gaze toward the window, where the sky was the clear, translucent blue it takes on only in autumn, when the early trees are turning and the goldenrod is in bloom. Yellow-flower season, his momma called it—her favorite time of year.

      He sighed and settled back in the chair. “I guess I’d have to blame it on the thunderstorm,” he said.

      Five Months Earlier—Springtime

      It wasn’t a bad one, as storms go, even if the rain was coming down in sheets the way it can in the South in the springtime, and visibility was about zero. But it was the third time a four-wheeler had stopped dead in front of him and he’d had to hit his air brakes while he prayed and swore loud enough to outroar the rain on the roof of his big blue Kenworth.

      It was in view of the fact that—despite his momma’s best efforts—he hadn’t been keeping up on his praying the way he should, and had probably used up a goodly portion of his lifetime’s allotment of Divine Intervention, that the next time he saw a sign for a rest stop swimming toward him through the rain, C.J. put on his blinker and pulled off the interstate.

      A number of other drivers had had the same good sense, it seemed, because the rest stop was full and he just did find a place to pull in well up along the on-ramp, the last available spot big enough to wedge an eighteen-wheeler into. Once he’d got the Kenworth buttoned down to his satisfaction, he put on his slicker and jogged back up the sloping drive to the buildings.

      It looked to him as if the rain was letting up some, though that could have been because he wasn’t on the interstate, where the truck spray always made things seem worse than they were. A chilly wind had sprung up and was blowing what rain there was in nasty gusts under the roofed shelter areas, so with the exception of a couple of women trying to use a cell phone, most people had taken to staying in their vehicles.

      C.J. meant to do the same himself, once he’d made use of the rest room and vending machines. He planned on getting himself an assortment of junk goodies to help pass the time, which was something truckers did a lot of and was one of the reasons why some of them got so big-bellied and heavy, or so he’d been warned by his brother, Jimmy Joe, who was also his boss.


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