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Taming the Texas Beauty

Taming the Texas Beauty

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Taming the Texas Beauty

valutazioni:
3/5 (1 valutazione)
Lunghezza:
202 pagine
2 ore
Pubblicato:
Nov 22, 2016
ISBN:
9781680463811
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Take one street-tough cop, add a high society salon owner, toss in high-end home robberies, and you get trouble.

Two years ago, Ryan Rogers was attracted to Stephanie Lockhart, but as the detective who brought down her criminal brother, getting close to her was out of the question. Now, ready to restart the relationship, he discovers her salon is connected to a series of high-end robberies.

In spite of losing her brother because of Detective Rogers, Stephanie hasn’t forgotten their attraction. It could be happily ever after when they meet once again... until she and her salon are implicated in crime, sending her world spiraling out of control.
Pubblicato:
Nov 22, 2016
ISBN:
9781680463811
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore


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Anteprima del libro

Taming the Texas Beauty - Jody Vitek

Taming the Texas Beauty

A Novel

by Jody Vitek

Published by

Satin Romance

An Imprint of Melange Books, LLC

White Bear Lake, MN 55110

www.satinromance.com

Taming the Texas Beauty, Copyright 2016 Jody Vitek

ISBN: 978-1-68046-381-1

Names, characters, and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Published in the United States of America.

Cover Design by Caroline Andrus

This book is dedicated to the Dallas Police Department, and all law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to ensure our well-being. I pray for these men and women to return home safe each and every day to their families.

Heroes live forever.

Table of Contents

Taming the Texas Beauty

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Previews

TAMING THE TEXAS BEAUTY

by Jody Vitek

Take one street-tough cop, add a high society salon owner, toss in high-end home robberies, and you get trouble.

A brief past gives them something to build on in the present, but is it enough for them to have a future.

Two years ago, Ryan Rogers was attracted to Stephanie Lockhart, but as the detective who brought down her criminal brother, getting close to her was out of the question. Now, ready to restart the relationship, he discovers her salon is connected to a series of high-end robberies.

In spite of losing her brother because of Detective Rogers, Stephanie hasn’t forgotten their attraction. It could be happily ever after when they meet once again…until she and her salon are implicated in crime, sending her world spiraling out of control.

Chapter One

A woman had been murdered at her employer’s home. Detective Ryan Rogers’ last shift for the week ended with a burglary gone wrong. He parked amongst the marked squads and unmarked cars on the street as his pulse accelerated. Detective Monica Vergas closed the passenger car door, while he stepped around the hood of the sedan to fall in beside his partner. The tight bun contained her long, curly, red hair. Not petite by any means, she was shorter than him by several inches.

They slipped under the yellow crime scene tape, triggering his sensory awareness switch. The brick dwelling was grand in size. The windows exposed the inside, and light spilled through the open front door onto the curved brick steps. The coroner wheeled the stretcher, with the victim enclosed in a body bag, to the black SUV parked on the long crescent-shaped driveway. A light breeze blew toward them as they approached the open door. Death assaulted his senses. He cringed.

Rogers. Vergas.

Hey, Mason, Ryan responded to fellow officer, Detective Jack Mason, stepping into a large foyer with an enormous chandelier hanging above them in the center of the entry. Home invasion gone bad? He glanced around. Beneath the glass fixture, the marbled floor had an intricate, likely custom, circular design.

This is what we have. The homeowners returned from vacation and found their cleaning lady dead. The husband immediately called the police. We arrived and found the house had been broken into without use of force, and we asked if they noticed anything missing. The wife checked on her jewels, while her husband checked on other items. Jack delivered the basics.

Ryan and Monica glanced at each other with a nod, signaling the connection to their cases.

Yep, that’s why we called you two. We think this is tied into your other vacation robbery cases. Jewels, cash, and other items are missing.

But out of the thirty-three cases, there’s never been anyone murdered, Monica spoke up.

I know, but everything else fits. It’s a messy scene. The housekeeper must’ve taken the robbery crew by surprise. Jack glanced past them as officers moved about the house. The owners aren’t staying here tonight. They’re in the kitchen. They’d like to leave as soon as possible.

Ryan, and Monica turned in the direction Jack nodded. Beyond the end of the hall he could see bar stools to the one side and chairs to the other.

What are their names? Monica held her notepad open with a pen poised.

Milton and Janet McTosh. The house cleaner was Maria Hernandez, Jack answered.

We’ll go talk to them. Ryan delivered a quick, firm grasp to Jack’s shoulder. Thanks.

They strolled toward the back of the house and entered a gourmet kitchen with top-of-the-line stainless steel Wolf appliances. The white sleek cabinets softened the dark granite countertops. In a small seating area off to the side from the kitchen, dominated by white leather love seats on plush white carpeting, they found the owners of the house.

The lifestyle of the wealthy wasn’t for him. Ryan preferred living simple in an apartment of a refurbished factory, with easy-cleaning concrete flooring. He needed a bed, bathroom, kitchen, and a place to plop his butt to watch TV.

The couple, in their early fifties, sat on the small sofa where Mr. McTosh comforted his wife, who clung to her husband crying.

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. McTosh. I’m Detective Monica Vergas. This is my partner Ryan Rogers. We work with the robbery unit. We need to ask you some questions.

Mr. and Mrs. McTosh, we’re sorry you came home from your vacation to this unfortunate act of violence. He sat on the edge of the opposing sofa while leaning forward. The officer informed us you’ve had items stolen. Is this correct?

Vergas joined him on the leather seating.

Yes. Maria…Maria worked for us for twenty years. Why? Why would someone kill her? The wife spoke through sobs.

I don’t know, ma’am. That’s what we’re going to try to resolve. He maintained eye contact with the couple. Detective Vergas and I are here to solve the robbery part of this crime. Can you tell me what was taken? Small collectibles, paintings, cash, or anything of value? Ryan asked the question with care. This murder made the simple robbery questions seem so mundane, yet they were necessary.

Mr. McTosh pulled his wife tighter against his arm and chest. I had the opportunity to check my office. They took the cash and left the blank checks. They managed to break into the safety drawers where we keep the jewels.

Thank you for your time. You should be allowed back into your home tomorrow. The investigators will be here through the night searching for any evidence. Mr. McTosh, we’ll need a detailed list of items stolen and their values. If you have any photos of these items, they would be helpful too. Do you have a cell phone number where we can reach you? He glanced at his partner who was again ready with her pen.

Monica scribbled the numbers as Milton rattled off his and his wife’s cell numbers.

We’ll be in touch in the next several days. Ryan shook Milton’s hand. Mrs. McTosh,—he took the hand she offered and patted hers with his other hand—good night.

* * * *

In the confines of their car, Ryan said, If these are the same criminals, there’s a common link we’re missing, Monica. This murder ups the game. He started the car and pulled onto the roadway.

The robbery crew didn’t count on the woman being at the house, panicked, and killed her. The cases have been nonviolent up until now. Monica spoke the facts, keeping things real with the situation.

Doesn’t mean they won’t kill again. Especially if they’re not caught. He couldn’t help but add the negative possibility. I hope it doesn’t become a pattern. Let’s wrap up the work week. I’m ready for some time off.

Sounds good to me. Hey, did you schedule that shave yet? Vergas regarded him.

I have an appointment tomorrow. Thought it would be a great way to start my three days off.

I’m telling you, you’re going to love going. David goes once a month.

That good, huh? I’ll let you know how it was on Monday. He had mixed emotions about tomorrow. Stephanie Lockhart, the salon owner, was a woman who at one time held his interest.

The interest never disappeared but had to be put on hold when his career involved the death of her brother, Andrew. Ryan’s brother Chad and now wife Chloe, were tangled in the case as well. He’d kept his distance from Stephanie during the investigation and court hearings, which took more than a year.

The remainder of the ride to the office was quiet. Like him, Vergas more than likely mulled over the day’s events.

While working at their desks, Monica broke his train of thought. You’ve been thinking about Stephanie and the case against her brother, haven’t you? You’re wondering if you’ll see her.

What were you saying? I was caught up in this paperwork. Ryan continued to focus on the computer screen, although he’d heard what his partner said.

"You heard me. I’m glad you’re going. I’ve never understood why you didn’t call her. Or for that matter, why you haven’t called her."

Other women. Job. Life. Family. I’m sure she’s moved on too. It’s a fact of life. He kept his body poised at his desk, remaining hidden from her inquiry behind the short partition with desk space that divided their shared cubical work area. Talking about his feelings regarding a certain woman wasn’t up for discussion today.

If you’ve had a woman in your life, Vergas’s voice loudened as she neared the center of the area, it hasn’t been long enough of a relationship for me to know.

He spun around. Just because you’re my partner doesn’t mean you need to know everything that goes on in my life.

No need to bark at me. I was razzin’ you. She rolled back to her space. I won’t mention it again.

Ryan slouched and softened his tone. I’m sorry for getting defensive. I am anxious about the possibility of seeing her tomorrow.

I’ll see you on Monday. You can tell me about it then. If you want.

You know I’ll tell you. Let’s finish this and get out of here.

* * * *

Ryan opened the Taming Texas Beauty salon door late Friday evening. Tall walls separated several areas but didn’t connect to the industrial ceiling. The flooring appeared to be painted concrete. Checked in at the front desk, the receptionist escorted him to a modern, carpeted waiting space and offered him a water, which he declined. While waiting, he observed how the back wall curved and met a finished ceiling, hiding the exposed beams and duct work. No more than five minutes later, a man entered the area.

Mr. Rogers? The man was tall, with a full, well-trimmed beard.

He stood. Hi, call me Ryan.

Hi, I’m Vincent. I’ll be taking care of you today. Follow me. He had shoulder-length dark hair that was styled with a sleek appearance.

They entered a large room at the front of the salon, passing the other stylists and their stations. Rather than the square chairs in the other spots, two lounge-like chairs stood at the front wall of windows. He assumed they were for men when Vincent directed him to sit.

Please, have a seat.

Ryan sat, unsure of what Monica had talked him into.

Vincent snapped a cloth cape open and placed it over Ryan’s chest. Is this your first time getting a professional facial shave? He wore a short-sleeved shirt which revealed the tattoos covering his arms.

Yes.

"You’ve come to the right place. I want you to relax and enjoy. After today, you’ll never want anything but to see me for a shave." He tipped the seat back.

Vincent had holes in his ears, but no facial piercings. Ryan would be turned away from Vincent’s services if he’d had piercings in the nose, eyebrow, or lip. Each to his own, Ryan thought.

A towel was set on his neck and tucked into the cape, another one rested across his chest.

First, I’ll be starting with a warm towel. Are you comfortable?

Ryan nodded despite the fact he was anything but comfortable at this moment. He was unnerved to have another man hold a straightedge blade to his neck.

If this is too hot, let me know, although we’ve never had anyone complain. Close your eyes and relax.

The cloth was wrapped from his chin, covered his eyes and forehead, leaving his nose exposed so he could breathe. To his surprise, Ryan did relax.

The warmth eased the tension from his shoulders left behind by his busy work week. His heart rate slowed and his body relaxed against the chair. Conversations flowed around him. Several minutes passed when Vincent spoke.

I’m going to take this towel off, replacing it with a fresh one.

Cool air hit his skin, and a warmth followed.

A minute passed and Vincent removed the now-cool cloth. This is a pre-shaving oil to give you a smoother shave with less chance of razor burn. When he finished with the oil, he smeared shaving cream on his face. If you could stretch your upper lip.

Ryan did as asked. He welcomed the surprising warmth of the cream.

Thank you. Finished, he stepped away and stood at Ryan’s side, poised with the razor. Since this is your first time, I’ll explain. It’s important you trust me. Don’t move during the shaving.

Ryan nodded.

I’m going to start on your right side, to the other, and then up from under your chin.

Vincent began

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