Four years ago, a car accident robbed Nancy Frost of her child and her mother, taking what was left of her marriage with it in the process. A forensic accountant, she agrees to look at a company’s books in a divorce case, trying to find hidden assets, but her meeting with the lawyer goes terribly wrong when the restaurant is attacked.
The moment US Marshal Neil Copeland discovers his wife has been shot in a Baltimore restaurant, he rushes to her side, determined not to let her down again. As the police investigate, evidence suggests the attack was a ploy to hide a specific hit. When a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear that she was the target and whatever’s going on is a lot more complicated than they think.
When Nancy awakes after a month in an induced coma, not only does she not remember the attack on the restaurant, she doesn’t remember marrying Neil.
Faced with the challenge of protecting his wife from a powerful, faceless enemy, Neil must bring her up to date, dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something will jar her memory.
As he races against time, can he save her from an unknown assassin and convince her to give the love they once had a second chance?
“I wasn’t sure about the hair color … the burgundy’s a little flashy, but I definitely wanted it short, and with the weight loss … It was time,” Nancy finished.
“Past time, I’d say. The transformation is incredible. My God, your own mother, bless her soul, wouldn’t recognize you. That dress is gorgeous, but it must’ve cost the Earth. I’m glad you decided to handle all this positively. I honestly expected to find you navel gazing or crying into a margarita.”
As if on cue, the waiter, dressed in black pants and a skin-tight, red, logo-emblazoned t-shirt, showed up with two of the restaurant’s signature sweet and salty drinks. He placed the glasses on the table, handed them each a menu, and moved away.
“That boy can park his shoes under my bed any night he wants,” Meredith whispered and licked her lips.
Nancy laughed. “If he hit on you, you’d wet yourself.” She lifted her glass in a toast. “Here’s to the new me. I’m good, better than I was yesterday, and not as good as I’ll be tomorrow.” She took a mouthful. “Life is a lot like these drinks. Some days are sweet and wonderful, while others are bitter, tear-filled, and miserable. You have to learn to take the good with the bad. Tears can’t fix anything as I’ve finally realized. Here’s to the past.” She sipped once more.
Meredith touched the brim of Nancy’s glass with hers. “Here, here, although I still think everything could’ve worked out differently.” She sampled her margarita, smiled, and drank some more.
“Not everything that happens is an opportunity for growth. I’ll never forget them,” Nancy said, her voice tinged with sadness. “But I have to put it behind me—all of it. It wasn’t all Neil’s fault, but I can’t go back and fix the mistakes we made any more than I can pluck the moon from the sky.” She took a mouthful of the cocktail and licked the salt off the rim of the glass. “Where are my divorce papers?”
“Right here.” Meredith opened her purse and pulled out a brown envelope.
Nancy reached for it and transferred it to her voluminous bag without opening it. She would deal with them later.
“I’ll sign them and get them back to you as soon as I can.” She picked up the menu, but the words danced before her eyes. “He called today,” she said, even though she’d intended to keep that bit of information to herself.
Meredith sat up straight and put down her menu. “And?”
“And, nothing.” Nancy shrugged. “He left a message on the machine saying he wanted to talk to me. I didn’t return his call.”
“Why not? No matter what you say, I know you’re still in love with him, and I’m pretty sure he loves you, too.”
Nancy sipped her drink and stared into the frothy pink liquid as if it held the answer to all the mysteries of life.
“Sometimes love isn’t enough, Meredith,” she admitted, unable to squelch the sorrow in her voice. “I’ll love Neil Copeland for the rest of my life, but some things can’t be reconciled. His job has a death grip on him which’ll never go away, and I can’t be second—not again. That may sound selfish, but it is what it is.”
Meredith frowned. “It isn’t that simple, and you know it. There were extenuating circumstances.”
“That may be, but I can’t get passed it. I never wanted to fall for a man like my father who put work first, but that’s exactly what I did.”
“Sugar, you’ve got this all wrong.” Meredith reached across the table and touched Nancy’s hand. “You aren’t being fair to Neil. That man would put you first if the choice was his, but as a U.S. marshal, it rarely is. People won’t testify against the mob, drug dealers, and other assorted dirt bags unless they know they and their families can be protected.”
“I know, but I want a full-time husband, not a part-time hero. When I needed him most, he chose the job over me, and you know it. The kid who hit us will spend the next fifteen years in jail, as if that can somehow make up for what I’ve lost. Well, I’ve been in a prison of my own long enough. If I don’t return Neil’s call, he’ll stop calling.”
“You’re wrong, and deep down you know it. The Neil Copeland I know won’t quit unless it’s his decision. You two were made for each other. Love’s too precious to throw away.”
Nancy shook her head. “I didn’t throw it away. He did.”
About the author:
Amazon bestselling author Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She is of French-Canadian descent. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
Her first novel, Fire Angel, set the tone for an exciting new career. While most of her books are romantic suspense, Susanne writes stories that range from contemporary to sci-fi and everything in between. She is a PAN member of the Romance Writers of America.
When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traveling to interesting places she can use as settings in her future books or as interesting entries for her blog, Living the Dream. During the summer she enjoys camping with her grandchildren and attending various outdoor concerts and fairs. In winter, she likes to cuddle by the fire and watch television.