At its heart, it’s a romance
A gutsy heroine on a quest to find her missing sister.
A strong, sexy hero who was once the love of her life offers to help with the search, but has an agenda of his own.
These are the two main characters in GONE, my latest romantic suspense novel. FBI Special Agent Clare Marshall tracks the sister she was separated from in childhood when their mother tried to kill them to a small town, only to learn that her sister is missing and that someone from the town is responsible for her disappearance. Clare doesn`t expect to encounter her former lover, FBI Special Agent Jake Sutton, in town or expect her strong reaction to him when she does.
Though Clare's focus is on locating her sister, she finds herself unable to put Jake from her mind and her heart. The last thing she wants is to have feelings for Jake. She has not forgotten how things ended between them - a break-up that left her shattered.
GONE tells the story of Clare’s search for her missing sister, a search that puts her in danger and may ultimately cost her life. But GONE also tells the story of two people who lost at love once and may now have a second chance for a happily ever after. So while GONE is filled with danger and suspense, at its heart, it’s a romance.
Clare is scarred emotionally from her childhood. She believes finding her missing sister will make her life complete. Finding her sister is all she thinks she needs or wants.
She doesn’t want Jake.
She doesn’t want to remember Jake’s kiss. Doesn’t want to remember being in his arms while they made passionate, mind-blowing love. She does not want to remember how much she’d once loved him.
But she does remember. . .
Here’s an excerpt from Clare and Jake’s first encounter in GONE:
Clare left the nursing facility and stepped into bright sunlight. She shielded her eyes with the back of one hand and with the other, reached into her purse dangling from her shoulder, digging for sunglasses. A man was walking across the parking lot toward her. A trick of the light, he looked like . . .
She hadn’t realized she’d spoken his name aloud until she heard it.
He was close enough to have heard as well, though he didn’t speak. His eyes, narrowed against the sun, fixed on her with an intensity she remembered all too well.
Too late to pretend she hadn’t seen him. It wasn’t too late to walk away, though. She wanted to walk away, really wanted to, and because she did forced herself to stay put and meet his gaze.
Jake now stood in front of her, blocking the sunlight. Clare lowered her hand. His chin was at her eye level. He hadn’t shaved. Black beard shadowed his jaw, made his tanned skin look darker.
The last time she’d seen him, from the other side of her bed, he’d looked a little pale. Tired from working too hard. Tired from going another ten rounds with her.
That was three years ago. He didn’t look to be suffering from sleepless nights anymore. He looked rested and fit. The blue T-shirt he wore over jeans showed his hard, tough body. Was he still with the Bureau? If so, by his casual attire, he wasn’t working today.
“I could say the obvious ‘small world,’” Jake said.
It had been big enough for her until a moment ago. But in response, she said only, “Must be.”
In the awkward silence, a group of women in hospital uniforms dashed by, causing a slight breeze that smelled strongly of spicy perfume.
Jake cleared his throat. “Don’t tell me the Bureau’s sent you to make sure I’m not lazing my days away fishing?”
He said it with a smile, an obvious attempt at lightness. Clare didn’t return the smile.
“You’re assigned to the Columbia office?”she said.
“Resident office in Farley, actually.”
That surprised her. After they’d stopped seeing each other, Jake had put in for a transfer out of the New York office. They’d been members of the same squad for a time and had been paired off. Working together after things ended had strained them both. Jake was very good at what he did and had earned the commendations to prove it. He could have aimed a lot higher than Farley. She couldn’t understand why he hadn’t.
She didn’t know where he’d gone—didn’t want to know—but she would never have imagined him choosing Farley. He was a city boy. She wouldn’t have figured he would come here voluntarily. He must have been desperate to create distance between them for him to accept this post.
“Just me, one other agent, and an admin assistant,” Jake went on. “How about you? What brings you to our fair town?”
When she’d known him, she’d never mentioned Katie. On the nights he’d stayed at her apartment, she’d stored her cork board and files on her sister in a closet. She had no reason not to tell him about Katie at this time. Her being in Farley and the reason for it was likely climbing the town grapevine at lightning speed. But there was no reason to bring Katie up to him now, when she hadn’t before.
“Vacation,” she said simply.
He heard the lie. The humor in Jake’s gaze vanished and in an instant his gaze grew razor sharp.
“I recall you had a preference for sand and surf,” he said.
No doubt he was referring to the one brief getaway they’d taken together—a spur-of-the-moment jaunt following a particularly grueling assignment. They’d both been wound tight. He’d asked her where she’d like to go.
White sand beach. A pounding surf. No one else around for miles.
Her words returned to her. The next morning, she’d awakened and found he’d packed her suitcase and had found the perfect place for them to go. She didn’t care for the reminder of how perfect it had been between them once.
“Not this time,” she said. “Good-bye, Jake.”
Before he could say anything further, Clare walked away from him.
What was your first encounter with your someone special like? Shy? Silly? Sexy? *g* I'd love if you'd share your story. All commenters will be entered in a drawing to win a $20 gift certificate at Amazon.
Wishing you lots of great books to read,