Her Detective's Secret Intent

By: Tara Taylor Quinn

He’s not the man she thinks he is...

And everything he knows about her is a lie!

On the run with her young son, Miranda Blake must stay off the grid. That means she can’t tell her would-be protector why she’s fleeing her secret past. Just the same, Detective Tad Newberry can’t tell Miranda why he’s protecting her. Just as the two start falling in love, shocking truths explode their fragile trust.

“You said you wanted to ask me out.”

“I do.” He set his glass down. And somehow managed to move a little bit farther away as he turned toward her and took her hand. “I really do.”

“So? Why is nothing...happening?”

He didn’t say anything. Just studied her.

“Ethan’s usually around.” His answer, when it came, was a huge disappointment. And a relief, too.

Only because he was confirming an excuse she’d already come up with.

“He’s not around tonight.”

Her father had not taught her to be a woman who threw herself at men. To the contrary, he’d beaten her bloody the first time a boy had kissed her on her front step after a date and the great fire chief had witnessed the unremarkable occurrence.

Buzzkill. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all.

“I’m afraid that if I touch you, I won’t stop.”

Tad’s words brought her head up. She saw the truth in the light in his eyes.

“Who says you have to stop?” she whispered.

* * *

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Dear Reader,

Oh my word. I am just so happy to be here with you. I’ve been writing romantic suspense my entire career, and I am finally, with this, my ninetieth book, writing them for Harlequin Romantic Suspense! The line wasn’t even in existence when I started my Harlequin career and, thankfully, Harlequin Superromance happily published my suspense titles. I am very thankful that you, the Harlequin Romantic Suspense family, invited me into your fold.

So...welcome to The Lemonade Stand, where secrets are safe. Always. This series is integrally a part of me. It hits home. It’s personal. I created The Lemonade Stand several years ago, at the request of a Harlequin editor. I had no idea the impact it would have on readers, or on me. The Stand is a unique resort-like women’s shelter off the coast of California. And the stories that happen here...they stand alone. They’re individual stories of individual women and men whose lives have been impacted by this wonderful facility.

This book...I feel it down to my core, and I hope and pray that you do, too. It’s intense, but I promise you an ending that is real and filled with hope.

If you like this book, you can find the first fifteen Where Secrets are Safe stories, published by Harlequin Superromance, at all online retailers, including Harlequin.com, or by ordering them through any of your local retailers. And for future ones, just sit right here with me. They’re already on the way!

I love to connect with my readers. Please find me at www.tarataylorquinn.com, www.Facebook.com/tarataylorquinnauthor, on Twitter @tarataylorquinn or join my open Friendship board at www.Pinterest.com/tarataylorquinn/friendship.

Happy reading,

Tara Taylor Quinn

Chapter 1

Detective Tad Newberry—currently on leave from the police force in Charlotte, North Carolina—walked into the pediatric examining room in Santa Raquel, California, forcing a big smile. In addition to the exam table, some plastic chairs, a counter with drawers and glass containers of various cotton supplies, the room boasted zoo animal prints in shades of blue and green. The floor was gray tile, eight-inch squares, and the lights were ceiling-mounted fluorescent bulbs.

After giving his surroundings a quick glance, cataloging every aspect out of habit, he focused on the seven-year-old boy dressed in jeans and a yellow T-shirt sitting on the edge of the table, swinging one of his legs back and forth—a nervous gesture, Tad surmised, not a happy or excited one.

The boy’s mother, in jeans and a navy hoodie with a light green shirt underneath, stood beside him, hand about an inch behind her son on the paper-covered cushioned mat. As though she was ready to grab him at any moment. Tad glanced at her, having been prepared ahead of time, and still felt bile rise in his throat when he saw the red-and-purple puffiness taking up one entire side of her face.

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