Protecting Peggy. Maggie Price

Protecting Peggy - Maggie Price

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      “Thank you again for defusing what might have turned into an even more unpleasant situation, Mr. Sinclair.”

      “You’re always so polite while you’re trying to get rid of me.” He smiled, a slow curving of the lips that gave his strong-featured face a devastating appeal. “What’s it going to take for you to call me Rory?”

      Peggy slicked her tongue along her bottom lip. She didn’t want to picture herself in his arms, breathing his name against his heated flesh, but she did. “I think…” Her voice hitched, and she cleared her throat. “It would be wise for us to keep things between us on a business level, Mr. Sinclair.”

      He said nothing for a moment, but stared down at her with those off-the-chart blue eyes until she had to fight the urge to squirm.

      “You’re right,” he said softly. “That would probably be the wise thing to do….”


      Meet the Coltons—

      a California dynasty with a legacy

       of privilege and power.

      Rory Sinclair: Not the marrying kind. Having dedicated his life to researching chemical and biological warfare for the FBI, he’s not about to be distracted from his current mission. Until he comes head-to-head with a toothless toddler and her beautiful mother…

      Peggy Honeywell: Feisty single mom. When a town emergency forces a federal agent to move into her bed-and-breakfast, this proud widow suddenly has trouble remembering all the reasons she’d vowed to avoid dangerous men at all costs.

      Samantha Honeywell: Heartbreaker-in-waiting. This wise two-year-old knows that any man who’d rescue a tattered pink bunny is a keeper!

      Michael Longstreet: Beleaguered mayor. As the town of Prosperino faces its water crisis, he’s about to be tested in life—and love.

      Protecting Peggy

      Maggie Price

      MILLS & BOON

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      About the Author


      Viewing the world from behind the badge of an FBI special agent hero wasn’t a giant step for Maggie Price to take. A former civilian crime analyst for the Oklahoma City Police Department, Maggie possesses an insider’s knowledge of cops and the workings of various law enforcement agencies. Add to that her having snagged assignments to several task forces alongside FBI special agents, and it was only natural that FBI forensic scientist Rory Sinclair would stride onto the pages of Protecting Peggy as a true-to-life cop with a microscopic eye for detail and a cop’s dangerous edge.

      Maggie loves to hear from readers! Contact her at 5208 W. Reno, Suite 350, Oklahoma City, OK 73127-6317.

      To Pam Newell, in appreciation for your support, encouragement and, most especially, for your friendship.

      A special thank-you for all the “kid” advice you’ve given me over the years.


      Chapter One

      Chapter Two

      Chapter Three

      Chapter Four

      Chapter Five

      Chapter Six

      Chapter Seven

      Chapter Eight

      Chapter Nine

      Chapter Ten

      Chapter Eleven

      Chapter Twelve

      Chapter Thirteen


      As a member of the FBI’s elite evidence support team, Rory Sinclair’s hopping a flight from D.C. without much advance notice usually meant he was headed to a crime scene. His rainy-night arrival in California wasn’t the case, although he’d stowed his computer and field evidence kit in the trunk of the car he had rented three hours ago at the San Francisco airport. For the first time in years, Special Agent Rory Sinclair was off the Bureau’s clock and on his own time.

      Time, that Rory had agreed to spend posing as a civilian chemist while conducting a surveillance at a widow’s homey bed-and-breakfast.

      With rain slanting down through the darkness, the sign welcoming Rory to Prosperino—a town hailing itself as a tourist’s mecca on the rugged northern California coast—glistened in the car’s headlights.

      From what Rory could see of the flower-laden planters and neat benches that lined the sidewalks in front of a row of darkened storefronts, Prosperino looked picture-postcard perfect, everything calm and serene. Untroubled.

      The urgent call Rory had received the previous day from Blake Fallon, his former college roommate, told Rory there was at least one imperfection on Prosperino’s charming facade. That imperfection came in the form of the mysterious contamination of the water supply on Hopechest Ranch, the haven for troubled adolescents and teens where Blake served as director. The contamination had occurred weeks ago. Since then, Blake had watched a series of Hopechest’s staff and residents fall ill while the EPA inspector assigned to the case conducted his investigation at a suspicious snail’s pace.

      Peering through the rain-spattered windshield, Rory spotted the road to Honeywell House marked on the map Blake had faxed him. Braking, he turned, then steered along a thin ribbon of road that curved up a hill. Although Rory had Blake’s assurances that the widow Honeywell ran a first-class establishment, comfort wasn’t the reason Rory was headed there. EPA Inspector Charlie O’Connell had checked into Honeywell House weeks ago. Rory wanted a close look at the man who had raised Blake’s suspicions by conducting at least one clandestine meeting on Hopechest Ranch property.

      Honeywell House was impressive, Rory decided as he drove past a wooden sign that welcomed him to the inn. Small spotlights spread dramatic fans of illumination across the face of the building that nestled against the hillside. Inside, lights burned gold behind windows dotting four stories, the upper one ringed by a widow’s walk.

      Rory pulled the car into the gravel lot at the side of the house and climbed out, thankful that the rain had slowed to a light mist. When he turned to walk toward the back of the car, he noted the outline of a small greenhouse sitting a few yards away.

      He retrieved his leather duffel bag, computer and field kit out of the trunk, then headed up the water-beaded cobblestone walk. He took the steps two at a time that led up to the large, wraparound porch. Although he’d never given much thought to his surroundings, something compelled him to turn and look back toward the road he’d just driven. The inn sat high enough on the hill that, past the wash of light from the streetlamps, he could see a

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