Grace Under Fire
Release Date: 11-18-2009
Since her husband’s death, Grace Diaglo has been sleepwalking through life. That is, until her husband’s ex-partner shows up just in time to become her impromptu bodyguard when a peeping Tom is spotted outside her bathroom window. Grace isn’t sure who she’s more afraid of, the man trying to see her naked or the one she’s started picturing that way.
Ex-Chicago cop, Cord Rawlings, intends to find his partner’s killer. What he doesn’t count on is an intense attraction to the dead man’s wife or the corruption a probe into his friend’s death uncovers-an investigation that has the pair dodging bullets to stay alive. Will he be able to keep Grace safe or have they become the targets of the last person either of them suspected?
Cord Rawlings lifted the bottle of whiskey to his lips and drained the last drops. He wouldn’t say he was drunk, just numb. He’d spent all evening in Rockford, Illinois, holed up in a room at a roadside motel, drinking, and still felt no better than he had before he’d opened the bottle.
Would the painful memories ever fade—as the face of his partner, Vincent Diaglo, had?
He forced himself to swallow past the burning in his throat as he slammed his fist into the lumpy mattress.
Contempt for himself consumed him.
Vince had died because of him. He should have been in the car that exploded, not his partner. Now all Cord saw when he thought about his friend was his charred remains—not the strong, dedicated cop he’d been.
Inside, Cord was dead too. Probably wouldn’t fear dying because he’d been lifeless inside for a long time.
Maybe he should just end it all. Right here, right now.
He shook his head. That would be taking the coward’s way out. No way could he do that.
He sent the empty bottle into the air. It landed with a dull thud onto the carpet.
Vincent would have been disgusted with what he’d become, and that bothered Cord more than anything. Vince and his wife had been like family to him.
God, he could still see Grace’s pale, tear-streaked face at the funeral as the graveside attendants lowered the shiny silver casket into the ground, her hands white-knuckling the American flag that had draped it only moments before.
He hadn’t been able to face her that day. Guilt had eaten at him with a vengeance. So he’d watched from a distance, afraid she’d blame him for not being there to save her husband—to save the only friend he’d ever had.
The morning of the funeral, he’d pictured Grace’s misty green eyes filled with loathing, eyes that had haunted him from the moment he’d met her, and known facing her would be impossible. Burying his partner and losing her respect, all in the same day. No way could he have dealt with that. He’d chosen not to confront her.
Instead, he’d run away and buried himself in a bottle.
Shaking off his alcohol-induced buzz, Cord forced the images from his mind. He refused to think about Grace any longer. Every time he did, his stomach knotted. What he needed was another bottle of whiskey. Maybe then he’d pass out.