Today, I’m wrapping up my celebration of Valentine’s Day with excerpts from my Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery series published by Henery Press. The first one is from Cropped to Death.
Blurb: Former US Army JAG specialist, Faith Hunter, returns to her West Virginia home to work in her grandmothers’ scrapbooking store determined to lead an unassuming life after her adventure abroad turned disaster. But her quiet life unravels when her friend is charged with murder, and Faith inadvertently supplied the evidence.
So Faith decides to cut through the scrap and piece together what really happened. With a sexy prosecutor, a determined homicide detective, a handful of sticky suspects and a crop contest gone bad, Faith quickly realizes if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next one cropped.
At least I didn’t think so. I didn’t want anyone control-ling or managing my life for me. I’d make my own decisions, good and bad. I needed support, not advice. Well-meaning or not.
“I won’t be used.” Steve walked around the desk and stood behind his office chair, the desk a barrier between us.
“I’m not…” The remainder of the sentence stuck in my throat. The intensity in Steve’s fathomless brown eyes rendered me silent.
He leaned forward, never breaking eye contact. “Your grandmothers raved about you and I was intrigued. When I saw you the first time, I knew I wanted to get to know you better. But you were reserved, leery of me and everyone else, except for Cheryl and Hope. I didn’t know why, but I knew you needed space. I respected that.”
“I appreciated that.”
For the first few months, he treaded carefully around me and my grandmothers, not wanting to force himself into my life. It was hard as my grandmothers had depended on him for so long and he was a part of their life. I liked having a hot guy around. He was wonderful to look at and having my grandmothers’ focus on him gave me the breathing room I needed.
He offered friendship. I accepted it. Even added in some harmless flirting. It was nice knowing a handsome man found me attractive. Steve was safe. He never crossed the line I drew, which was both disappointing and a huge relief.
“I apologize for overstepping your boundaries,” Steve said. “I never intended for my concern to come across as controlling. Your grandmothers wanted you safe. I wanted you safe, and like most males, figured if physical harm came from your investigating, I could handle that better than you.”
“I know you meant well.” I twisted my fingers in the hem of my shirt. Steve and I never had a conversation like this. We hinted around about our feelings and joked with each other. I wasn’t sure how I felt about laying it all out like this. Or at least Steve doing it. My contribution so far was clichéd one-liners.
“I want you to need me, Faith, because you need me. I want you to want me, Faith, because you want me.”
“I don’t think you understand me,” I croaked out. “I want you in my life. Need you.”
With each word I said, Steve walked closer. “I don’t think you understand me.”
Steve wrapped an arm around my back and pulled me closer. His mouth settled over mine. Shocked, I remained still except for my trembling knees, threatening not to hold up my weight. Not a real problem as one of Steve’s arms tightened around me while the other hand trailed up my back and cupped the back of my head.
My hands inched their way from his chest, to his shoulders, then clasped around his neck, increasing the pres-sure of his mouth on mine. Reality was so much better than fantasy. Steve’s lips left mine and disappointed swelled in me. The feeling left when his fingers tangled into my hair and he dropped a feather-light kiss onto my cheek.
“Steve…” I breathed his name.
He cradled my head to his chest. “When you come to the place where you’re ready to trust again, Faith, let me know.”
If you’re interested in reading Faith’s adventure, Cropped to Death is available at:
Mystery Loves Company (print copies)