By: Carol Ericson


Four years in an Afghan prison couldn’t erase beautiful Devon Reese from Kieran O’Roarke’s damaged memory. So when they are reunited on a beach back in Coral Cove and she begs for help, the wounded hero doesn’t hesitate. He just responds. And when he learns Devon’s little boy—a son he hadn’t known existed—may have witnessed a brutal murder, the seasoned warrior refuses to let Devon live in fear. Struggling to recall the intimacies they once shared, Kieran is desperate to keep his new family from becoming a killer’s latest victims. He lost them once—he won’t lose them again. Even if he has to die fighting.

“I don’t know who you are.”

Her face crumpled and she looked ready to pitch forward.

He had to do better than that. He dragged his hands out of his pockets and held them out in supplication.

“I have some memory, but some things... I know you—” he clenched his fist and pounded it against his chest “—here, but I don’t know who you are. I don’t know your name.”

Silent tears dripped from her eyes. Wiping her hand across her nose, she drew in a shuddering breath. “I’m Devon. Devon Reese. I’m your... We were engaged.”

Kieran squeezed his good eye closed and whispered her name. “Devon. Devon.”

Yes, the name filled him with warmth and longing, those feelings belonging to his hazy past. They had been engaged. A woman like Devon, filled with golden light and promise, would never want a damaged man like him.


Kieran Roarke—A former prisoner of war, damaged and alone, he’s compelled to return to Coral Cove and the woman who got him through his imprisonment, even if he can’t remember her name. Once he meets her, and the son he hadn’t known about, he’ll do anything to protect them—even employ the brutal skills that have no place in civilized society.

Devon Reese—She returns to her hometown for peace and quiet when a neighbor is murdered and her son withdraws after the crime. But the killer follows her, suspecting she’s an eyewitness, and she must turn to the man she’d written off as dead, who’s now a stranger, to protect her and their son.

Michael Roarke—The murder of his grandmotherly neighbor sends the little boy into a private world of fear. What he’s not telling his mother might end up getting them both killed.

Mrs. Del Vecchio—This quirky senior citizen had a special relationship with Michael Roarke, but her murder winds up putting the boy in danger.

Johnny Del—Mrs. Del Vecchio’s dead husband was the leader of a gang of bank robbers. Does his criminal past cast a long shadow over the present?

Dr. Elena Estrada—This psychiatrist tries to help Michael come out of his shell...and puts herself in danger for her efforts.

Sam Frost—Dr. Estrada’s new boyfriend is friendly and helpful, but what does she really know about his past?

Bud “The Pelican” Pelicano—One of Johnny Del’s old cohorts, he died in prison, but may have lived long enough to pass off the secrets of his criminal past to his son.

Mayor Tyler Davis—He’s all about projecting a pristine image of Coral Cove to attract tourists, and he doesn’t appreciate the fact that big-city crime has followed Devon to his town. How far will he go to get her to leave?

Chapter One

Devon Reese stopped dead in her tracks. She balanced the laundry basket on her hip and tilted her head, listening for a second thump from downstairs. Either Mrs. Del Vecchio had just knocked something over or the eighty-year-old widow had taken up aerobics.

Hearing only street noises from her North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco wafting through the open window, Devon hitched up the basket and pushed the bathroom door wide. She plucked her towel from the rack and swept up Michael’s towel from the floor. She tossed a few washcloths into the basket and then gripped the handles.

She tiptoed past the closed door of Michael’s room where he was napping, and padded into the kitchen on bare feet. Crouching down, she grabbed a bottle of detergent from under the sink and then dumped some quarters into her palm. Devon dreaded laundry day, especially since she had to haul down to the ground floor for the laundry room.

She snagged her keys from the hook by the door. Once in the hallway, she turned to lock the deadbolt. Even as a single mom, she felt safe in their building with the security door in the front. But she never left Michael alone in an unlocked apartment, even for the five minutes it took to load the laundry in the washing machine.

Jogging down the stairs, Devon clutched the basket of towels to her chest and peered over the top. She hit the bottom step and crossed the hall in front of Mrs. Del Vecchio’s door. Maybe she should check up on the old gal. That thump could’ve meant a bad fall. She owed her that since Mrs. Del Vecchio had taken a particular interest in Michael, baking him cookies and telling him interesting, if unusual, stories about cops and robbers and pirates.

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