He was tall, maybe 6’ 3”, dark-blond military buzz cut, powerful jaw, high-cheekbones—dangerous looking. Under his calf-length black coat his shoulders were broad. And in spite of limp, his stride was slow, purposeful.
Her gaze went to the box under his arm. Fear whispered.
“What do you want?” she called out.
“I just need a minute of your time.” He came up the porch stairs as he spoke, the sound of his boots heavy on old wood. Up close Ellie could see the color of his eyes; intense, very dark blue. His face was scarred. His knuckles, too. A fighter, a broken one. She judged him to be in his late thirties, although it was hard to tell. His coat hung open to reveal a black T-shirt stretched taut over muscled pecs.
The small hairs at the nape of her neck began to tingle. She wrapped her arms tighter around her stomach.
“You’re Max,” she said quietly.
“Maddox McDonough,” he said. “Max for short.” A wry smile curved his lips. “Or Mad Dog. But that was another time, another place.” His eyes went to the ring on her finger.
Her spine straightened and her fingers tightened around the cell phone clutched at her waist, her thumb hovering near the keypad.
“I shouldn’t have called the show. I’m sorry if I upset you, Ellie.”
“You’ve got a minute to tell me what you want before I call the cops.”
He inhaled slowly, something tightening in his features. It took several beats before he spoke.
“I was with Lieutenant Flynn Traeborn when he died.”
Blood drained from her face.
She didn’t move. Couldn’t. Her eyes locked defiantly onto his. “You’re lying,” she whispered. “You’re some sick fuck who’s come to mess with my head. Get off my porch before I call 9-1-1.”
Visit the author: Loreth Anne White
Loreth Anne White was born and raised in South Africa, but now lives in a ski resort in the Pacific Northwest, a place of vast, wild and often dangerous mountains, larger-than-life characters, epic adventure, and romance. It was here she was inspired to abandon a 16-year career as a journalist to escape into a world of romantic fiction filled with dangerous men and adventurous women.
When she’s not writing you will find her running, biking or skiing the trails with her black lab, and generally trying to avoid bears – albeit not successfully. Her real-life hero, her husband of 26 years, is an ex-naval serviceman whose veteran father was a pilot in two wars.
Loreth has won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ choice award, is a double Romantic Times Reviewers’ choice award finalist, a Rita finalist, a double Daphne Du Maurier finalist, and multiple CataRomance Reviewers’ choice winner.