Blood Secrets, Book 1
Available from Samhain Publishing
One killer is in her blood. The other is in her house.
There’s a killer lurking in Dr. Skylar Novak’s family tree: the gene for breast cancer. That’s why her brilliant brother invented the Bella vaccine. But even if the miracle drug protects her from the cancer that took her mother’s life, it can’t save Sky from the flesh and bone evil stalking her in secret.
When the killer strikes, detective Daniel Benson finds himself in the wrong place at the right time. The bold detective manages to save Sky’s life…just in time for her to return the favor. Survival leads to seduction, and Danny risks everything—his career, even his life, to keep Sky safe. But will the buried sins they uncover cost him her heart?
Danny’s strong arms may hold her close, but only Sky can stop the terror that’s coming next…
Contents include: One heart-melting hero—good luck getting this delicious detective out of your head. One reluctant heroine—wielding a Glock was never on her to-do list. One crazed villain—an entire flock of baa baa black sheep won’t be enough to put you to sleep. And a lifesaving vaccine with one deadly side effect—murder.
PRAISE FOR FIRST DO NO EVIL
“Engaging, witty, intelligent and fresh. Add in hot romance and scintillating suspense, and Carey Baldwin has penned a winner!”~ New York Times bestselling author Cindy Gerard
“A first rate thriller…with plenty of sizzle to boot!”~Fresh Fiction
“First Do No Evil by Carey Baldwin hits all the right notes in a compelling, superbly written romantic suspense thriller that grabbed me from the beginning and still hasn’t let go.” ~The Romance Dish
“A perfect example of a well-balanced mix between suspense, romance and strong characterization… This book made me gasp…bite my nails in suspense, cry with its emotional intensity and sigh with its romance. Carey Baldwin wooed me with her excellent writing, heart-pounding suspense and fabulous characters. She’s been added to my list of go-to authors for romantic thrillers! I was just blown away. A perfect 10.” ~ Pearl’s World of Romance
His chin came up. Her eyes lifted to his, and a warm brown gaze short-circuited her security system. She was struck by an unreasoned, instinctive urge to trust this man.
He spoke first. “Brrr chill.”
Such a childlike expression from such a dangerous looking source. Before she could stop it, her laugh broke free.
Two vertical lines creased the space between the man’s thick sable brows. “What?”
In order to quell her laughter, she concentrated on the dim scar that traveled the length of the man’s nasal filtrum before coursing into his off-center upper lip. The effect of that slight asymmetry, those full, battle-scarred lips set against otherwise perfect, intensely masculine angles was undeniably sensuous. The word devastating came to mind. He should be a poster boy for cleft-lip repairs. Her shoulders stopped vibrating, but she didn’t trust herself to speak, not quite yet.
“It’s fuckin’ freezing,” he said.
“Now that’s more what I’d expect from an outlaw like you.” Oh. That was inappropriate. But judging by the way every feature on his face worked its way into a rebel-without-a-cause grin, he hadn’t exactly taken offense at the remark.
“Well, all right then. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Doesn’t fit anyway. Buy you a coffee?”
“Thanks, but no.”
“Not into outlaws?”
“Uh…” She rattled the doorknob helplessly.
“One cup. C’mon, flirt and run’s a crime. Don’t make me arrest you.”
Now this was just plain awkward. She couldn’t figure any way out but honesty. “You’re right. I was flirting—and I never flirt—and I absolutely should not have flirted with you just now. It’s my bad. I apologize.”
“I refuse to accept.” Reaching inside his jacket, the man pulled out his wallet and flicked it open, revealing a gold badge. “What’s it gonna be,” he asked, a slow grin spreading across his face, “coffee or cuffs?”
So he was one of the good guys—a detective. Like the ones who’d worked her father’s case with such dedication. Good to know her instincts had been right. But that didn’t change the fact that she was engaged. “You don’t understand. I’m meeting someone—my brother—and my fiancé.”
“You’re engaged to your brother?”
“No, I…” Impossible as it seemed in the subfreezing temperature, heat crept up her neck and across her face. “Stop teasing. I said I was sorry.” She lifted her frigid hands to cool her cheeks.
The detective’s fingers slid around her left wrist, pulling her hand close for inspection. “The cheap bastard didn’t spring for a rock?”
Allowing herself a mere moment to enjoy the unexpected rush of pleasure that resulted from his fingertips grazing her skin, she tugged her hand free. “Oh, the bastard’s quite generous, the ring’s at home…this is all so new…and…”
“Edmond proposed last week.” She bit her lower lip. She shouldn’t be explaining herself to this man, good guy or no, but his interrogation technique was difficult to resist. His boldness was tempered with just the right touch of humor and there was a friendly encouragement in his tone.
Leaning in, he reached one arm out and settled his palm on the glass, half-caging her between his body and the door. His head bent low. “Edmond, I take it, is not an outlaw.”
She felt his breath warm her neck, drank in his scent—pine trees and salt. Low in her belly, muscles softened and ached. He was too close. Mashing her back against the door until its rigid contours poked her spine, she pushed him away. “I wish they’d open up.”
He clutched his heart. “Now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings.”
“I only meant I’m cold…you know, brrr chill,” she said, hoping he hadn’t noticed the unsettled tone in her voice.
“Sorry. I’ve got the manners of a polecat.” He knocked on the window and called out, “Nevaeh!”
“I already tried that. I’m afraid her earbud’s connected to her iPod.”
When he whistled a short riff from “Dem Bones”, Sky’s shoulders relaxed, and she found herself laughing for the second time in the space of five minutes. Skylar Novak…first flirting, and now laughing. Maybe for an encore she could mud-wrestle the guy. “You know Nevaeh?”
“Since she was knee high. This Edwin—”
“Proposed just last week, and you’re not sporting ice, checking out your left hand until you’re blind? You sure you’re a girl?”
“Not very PC, are you?”
Shrugging, he pushed his sleeve back and checked his watch. “It’s oh-seven-hundred, why didn’t you and Edmond come together? No ring. No Edmond. I think maybe you’re shining me on.”
“The ring is a bit ostentatious for the office is all.”
“I’d insist you wear the ring.” His gaze wandered from her mouth to her eyes. “If you were mine.”
She looked past him, focused on the distant San Francisco Peaks, their frosted tips gleaming in the sunlight. “I don’t belong to any man.”
“So there’s still a chance for me.”
Rolling her shoulders back, she stuck her chin up. Even though she knew she hadn’t done anything wrong, she felt disloyal to Edmond. “I love my fiancé, and I plan on making him happy.”
“If there is an Edmond…”
She crossed her heart.
“If there is an Edmond, you’re not in love with him.”
At that, the hairs on the back of her neck bristled in Edmond’s defense. “Try to keep up. I just said—”
“You just said you loved him, not that you’re in love with him. I bet you love your brother, too, and your cat. But that won’t make for wedded bliss. You said you want to make Edmond happy, not that he makes you happy. You left the ring at home and—”
“I haven’t got a cat. And you’ve overstepped the rules of polite conversation.”
“Nope, that was you, way back at the outlaw remark.”
He had a point, and she didn’t have a comeback, so she kept quiet. The diner would open soon. All she had to do was wait this out.
“Look, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure we’re having a moment here. And…” He paused and turned his palms up. “Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but when you’re having a moment, those rules you mentioned are suspended…momentarily. When you’re having a moment you gotta grab it by the balls, or else something wonderful might pass you by.”
Straightening her back, she met his eyes. “All right, rules suspended. Let me be clear. Edmond is real and true, the truest thing in my life. He makes me believe in the possibility of happiness…even for someone like me. He’s my best friend, and I’d be lost without him.”
Kicking a chunk of ice with the toe of his boot, he dropped his eyes and said, “Fuckin’ shame. That coffee-or-cuffs line was one of my better efforts.”
At last, Nevaeh unlatched the door.
Sky blew out a relieved breath. “Nice meeting you, detective.”
“Danny.” He opened the door, motioned for her to go first.
“I’m Skylar,” she said, taking a step toward the door.
“Sky. That suits you.”
Wondering what he could possibly mean by that remark, she hesitated. And that brief, indecisive pause seemed all the invitation Danny needed to grab the moment by the balls. Allowing the door to swing closed in front of them again he said, “Your eyes are sort of a soaring blue. Your skin looks like you woke up this morning and washed your face in a mountain stream.” His fingers found a lock of her unruly brown hair. “Your hair ripples like that stream. Smells like meadow flowers…and wind and stars.”
Her heart thumped in her chest, as any woman’s would when confronted with such lovely lies from such a lovely man, but as she pushed past him into the beckoning safety of Jolene’s, she mustered a retort. “Look, I’m no expert, detective, and please, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to me congratulations are in order. Unless I’m mistaken, you’ve just topped your own bullshit.”