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Yuletide Protector

Cover of Yuletide Protector

Yuletide Protector

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Her ex-husband wants her dead? Daria Carlisle can hardly believe it. Detective Kevin Gordon insists it's true...and that it's his fault that her ex is still at large. Which means it's his responsibility to make sure Daria stays safe. So when Daria stubbornly refuses to run scared, Kevin takes on the role of yuletide protector. He knows firsthand that Daria's ex means business. And with Christmas coming, the determined cop intends to give Daria the holiday celebration she deserves-- safe and sound by his side forever.


Her ex-husband wants her dead? Daria Carlisle can hardly believe it. Detective Kevin Gordon insists it's true...and that it's his fault that her ex is still at large. Which means it's his responsibility to make sure Daria stays safe. So when Daria stubbornly refuses to run scared, Kevin takes on the role of yuletide protector. He knows firsthand that Daria's ex means business. And with Christmas coming, the determined cop intends to give Daria the holiday celebration she deserves-- safe and sound by his side forever.
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    The six-foot-high chain-link gate was locked tight. Kevin Gordon tested it, curling his fingers around the metal, and gave a quick yank.

    It didn't budge. He knew it wouldn't. The owners had long since packed up their lunch boxes and paperwork, washed their hands of grease and filth and headed home.

    George Carlisle, the man he'd agreed to meet here, was only using this salvage yard on Water Street for their meeting. It looked empty enough. But it was always better to be safe than to be dead.

    Satisfied, Kevin carefully moved down the cracked sidewalk, sidestepping a concave square that rainwater had gouged out. A quick glance down to the intersection told him the streets and the crossroad were barren, with no movement except from scraps of newspaper and discarded wrappers that caught the wind and rolled across the asphalt.

    No respectable citizen would be caught dead walking these Providence streets at this late hour of the evening. But George Carlisle wasn't exactly respectable and neither was the meeting he had planned. At the moment, though, it was just Kevin and a menacing junkyard dog testing the fence with every jump as Kevin walked along the sidewalk.

    "Easy, boy," he said quietly, which only aggravated the dog further. The Christmas lights that had been strung across the top of the fence blinked colors of red, white and green, making the dog's snarl look even more threatening when the colorful light hit its face. Deciding the location was as secure as it was going to get, Kevin focused on his backup. Pulling the hood of his gray winter jacket over his head to conceal his earpiece, the undercover detective said, "You with me in the van, Jake?"

    "Reading you loud and clear, Kev." He recognized his partner, Jake Santos, as the man speaking into his ear. "There's no one moving around out here."

    "Ski, anything moving from where you're sitting?" The only things moving where Amery Stanasloski was perched were his fingers, Kevin figured. A hint of a smile played on his lips. The kid, fresh out of police academy, was probably sitting on his hands right now either to keep them warm from the winter chill or to just still them. Amery had the eyes of an eagle, but a nervous habit of tapping his fingers. Sitting on the rooftop of the foundry building on the corner, Ski had a bird's-eye view of the blocks below him. Yeah, Kevin could just picture the kid perched high on a wooden crate like a hawk on a cliff.

    "That's a negative here. And you're coming through loud and clear," Ski said, but Kevin could barely hear him as the receiver was filled with so much static that Kevin's hand instinctively went to his ear.

    "Do you hear that static in the van, Jake?"

    "You're both clean here. Must be on your end."

    Irritation coiled inside Kevin. A half hour ago when he had tested it, the earpiece was working fine. Now it was too late to go back to the van and get a backup.

    "I'm ditching the piece."

    Jake's voice came over the radio, his voice firm and hard. "Keep it, Kev."

    "I'm liable to blow this whole meeting if I get feedback and flinch. What if Carlisle can hear it? I'm ditching the piece."

    "That's a neg--"

    Kevin yanked the earpiece out of his ear and dropped it deep into his jacket pocket.

    The connection to the team was critical, but the most important factor was making sure the meeting went off without a hitch. Even without audio communication, Kevin knew that Ski was in position to make sure that if anything turned sour, he'd be at Kevin's back in half a heartbeat to take...

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Yuletide Protector
Yuletide Protector
Lisa Mondello
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