Lady Killer. Kathleen Creighton

Lady Killer - Kathleen Creighton

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      Lady Killer

      Kathleen Creighton

      MILLS & BOON

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      Table of Contents

       Cover Page

       Title Page

       About The Author


      Chapter 1

      Chapter 2

      Chapter 3

      Chapter 4

      Chapter 5

      Chapter 6

      Chapter 7

      Chapter 8

      Chapter 9

      Chapter 10

      Chapter 11



      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.

      For Tom and Deb, Bob and Melodie whose acceptance and love enrich my life beyond measure.

       In a house on the shores of a small lake somewhere in South Carolina…

      “Pounding—that’s always the first thing. Someone—my father—is banging on the door. Banging…pounding…with his fists, feet, I don’t know. Trying to break it down.”

      “And…where are you?

      “I’m in a bedroom, I think. I don’t remember which one. I have the little ones with me. It’s my job to look after them when my father is having one of his…spells. I have to keep them out of his way. Keep them safe. I’ve taken them into the bedroom, and I’ve locked the door, except…I don’t trust the lock, so I’ve wedged a chair under the handle, like my mom showed me. Only…now I’m afraid…terrified even that won’t be enough. I can hear the wood splintering…breaking. I know it will only take a few more blows and he’ll be through. My mother is screaming…crying. I hold on to the little ones…I have my arms around them, and they’re all trembling. The twins, the little girls, are sobbing and crying, ‘Mama, Mama…’ but the boys just cry quietly.

      “I hear sirens…more sirens, getting louder and louder, until it seems they’re coming right into the room, and there’s lots of people shouting…and all of a sudden the pounding stops. There’s a moment…several minutes…when all I hear is the little ones whimpering…and then there’s a loud bang, so loud we—the children and I—all jump. We hold each other tighter, and there’s another bang, and we flinch again, and then there’s just confusion…voices shouting…footsteps running…glass breaking…the little ones crying…and I think I might be crying, too.…”

      He discovered he was crying, but he also knew it was all right. He was all right. Sam, his wife, was holding him tightly, cradling his head against her breasts, and her hands were gentle as they wiped the tears from his face.

      “I’m going to find them, Sam. My brothers and sisters. I have to find them.”

      Samantha felt warm moisture seep between her lashes. “Of course, you do.” She lifted her head and took her husband’s face between her hands and smiled fiercely at him through her tears. “We’ll find them together, Pearse,” she whispered. “We’ll find them. I promise you we will.”

       Chapter 1

      The black SUV was parked just off the main road on the rocky dirt track that ran around the back side of Brooke’s twenty-five acres. Not far enough off the road to be hidden by the live oaks that grew thickly there, so she couldn’t help but see it as she slowed for her driveway a hundred yards farther on. She didn’t need to see the license plate to know who the SUV belonged to, and the knowledge sent a shock wave of fury through her. There could be only one reason for that car being parked where it was.

      Duncan was spying on her.

      The cold, clutching feeling in her stomach was one she’d come to know well in the months since Duncan had filed for custody of Daniel. Although the divorce had been no picnic, she’d never been afraid, not then. Only relieved. But that had been before she’d had to consider the unthinkable: the possibility that she could lose Daniel.

      I can’t lose Daniel. Duncan Grant is not taking my son.

      She wouldn’t have thought such a thing could happen, never in a million years. She was a good mother. She owned her own ranch—twenty-five acres’ worth, tiny by Texas standards, but at least it was paid for—and thanks to the untimely death of her parents in a freeway pileup two years ago, she was also independently well-off. But this was still a good ol’ boy’s county, and Duncan being a deputy sheriff, he had powerful allies. And now, thanks to that idiot at the feed store who’d lost her order, Duncan might actually have that ammunition he’d been looking for in his battle to win custody of their son.

      Because of the delay at the feed store, she was late getting home. Daniel would have been home alone for at least an hour, and although Brooke knew he was an exceptionally responsible child and quite capable of taking care of himself for that period of time, she feared a judge would consider only the fact that he was nine years old and disregard any mitigating circumstances.

      Damn Duncan, anyway. How could he have managed to show up unannounced on the one day it mattered? He wasn’t due to have Daniel until next weekend. How had he known? Unless—her stomach clenched again—unless one of

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