Stranded with the Suspect

By: Cindi Myers

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Simon Woolridge—The Ranger Brigade officer has a reputation of being tough and cynical. He suspects most people’s motives but finds himself defending socialite Andi Matheson against her detractors—and against two men who want to kill her.

Andi Matheson—The former socialite has been Daniel Metwater’s most ardent follower and defender, but recent events have made her doubt the Prophet. As she flees his retribution, she is forced to put her life in Simon’s hands, but can she trust him with her heart?

Daniel Metwater—The handsome, charismatic itinerant preacher left behind wealth and a life of ease in Chicago to lead his followers in the wilderness—but the sins of his past have come back to haunt him and he’s on the run from those who want to make him pay.

Victor Krayev—The Russian assassin intends to use Andi to lay a trap for Daniel Metwater, who owes the Russian mafia a big debt.

David Metwater—Daniel’s twin lived a life of debauchery and crime until he was murdered, supposedly by the Russian mafia.




CHAPTER ONE

“I’m sorry, we don’t have any messages for you, Ms. Daniels. I promise to put any calls or other communications through to your room at once. Is there anything else I can do for you?” The desk clerk at the Brown Palace Hotel smiled as she spoke, as if she really was concerned that Andi have everything she needed.

“No. Thank you.” Andi tried to return the smile, but it wasn’t something she was used to doing anymore. The past year hadn’t given her much to smile about.

“Did you enjoy your visit to our spa this morning?” the clerk asked, after a quick glance at her computer screen, which no doubt showed every spa treatment, room service meal and other amenity Andi had enjoyed during her stay at one of Denver’s oldest luxury hotels.

“Yes, it was lovely.” Everything about the Brown Palace was lovely, from the richly patterned carpet beneath her feet to the stained-glass skylights in the main lobby. Towering fresh flower arrangements and elegant artwork shared space with photographs of the many celebrated personages who had stayed at the hotel, from the Beatles to US presidents. But none of it impressed Andi. For one thing, she had seen it all too many times before, when she stayed here with her father, Senator Pete Matheson.

That seemed a lifetime ago. Now all of this—the opulence and grand sense of history—wasn’t her world anymore. She craved simplicity over elegance, reality more than comfort. This felt so phony.

“If you need anything at all, please let me know, Ms. Daniels,” the clerk said.

Andi nodded and turned from the desk. Her name wasn’t even Daniels—it was Matheson. But Daniel Metwater had thought it amusing to register her under a variant of his Christian name when he had brought her here three days ago. He was supposed to have contacted her before now, to let her know he was coming to get her and take her home.

She reached up and put her hand over the pendant at her neck, the rose-cut diamond in the old-fashioned gold setting a comforting weight at the base of her throat. Daniel didn’t know that she had taken it before she left to come to Denver, but after all, he had promised it to her baby, so why shouldn’t she have it now? If he asked about it when he arrived, she would tell him she had been keeping it safe for him. He might not be pleased with that explanation at first, but he would come around. Daniel wanted her to be happy.

She waited for the elevator, her ankles swollen, feet hurting. Absently, she rubbed at the bulge of her abdomen, the baby kicking inside her. She tried to imagine what the little one looked like right now, recalling pictures in the tattered copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting that one of the women in camp had loaned her. She had no idea if she was carrying a boy or a girl. It didn’t matter—she would be happy with either. Part of her was anxious for the child’s arrival. Another part of her wanted to put it off as long as possible. She hadn’t seen a doctor since the public clinic had confirmed her pregnancy months ago, so she had no idea of her due date. But the other women in camp had assured her that the baby would come out when it was ready, and that she would be ready then, also.

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