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Small Town Protector

Cover of Small Town Protector

Small Town Protector

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Sending his family away years ago was the hardest thing FBI special agent Garrett Drake ever did. But it was the only way to shield them from a case turned terrifyingly personal. Now a serial killer has come to town. To safeguard his estranged son--and the entire Port Whisper community--Garrett needs help. And that means reaching out to Lana Burns, a captivating woman who cuts through his defenses. Garrett would willingly risk his life to uncover the killer. But to get a second chance at happiness, Lana has to convince the wary agent to risk his heart....


Sending his family away years ago was the hardest thing FBI special agent Garrett Drake ever did. But it was the only way to shield them from a case turned terrifyingly personal. Now a serial killer has come to town. To safeguard his estranged son--and the entire Port Whisper community--Garrett needs help. And that means reaching out to Lana Burns, a captivating woman who cuts through his defenses. Garrett would willingly risk his life to uncover the killer. But to get a second chance at happiness, Lana has to convince the wary agent to risk his heart....
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    The night cruises Lana offered to Salish Island were usually her favorite. But something felt off tonight.

    Maybe it was the confrontation with a tourist who tried to bribe his way onto her boat, even after she'd explained they'd reached their capacity. Or maybe it was the sudden breeze that sent goose bumps down her arms. A sign of an unexpected storm and they should head back?

    Yet right now it was so peaceful out here. She and her teenage staff had set up the tiki lights, food and hot beverages. Her guests were having a great time toasting hot dogs and marsh-mallows over the crackling campfire. A little girl climbed onto her daddy's lap and he handed her a stick to wave over the fire.

    Lana hated to cut the visit short, but safety was her number one priority. She'd call Anderson Greene for an update. The sailing fanatic was obsessed with the weather.

    "Hello," he answered, a bit out of breath.

    "Hey, Anderson, it's Lana. You okay?"

    "Yep, just harder to get around with the sciatica acting up."

    "I'm sorry."

    "What can I do for you?"

    "What's the scoop on the weather tonight?"

    "You're not scheduling a trip to Salish, are you?"

    "We're already on island, why?"

    "There's a front coming in from the north. Last I heard...fifty-mile -an-hour--"

    The line went dead. "Anderson?"

    Loss of communication, not a good sign. She decided to play it safe and head back. She'd give her customers coupons for her snack shop, Stone Soup, to make up for having to leave the island early.

    Glancing across the group, she caught sight of her teenage helpers, Ashley and Sketch. They held hands as Sketch dangled a marshmallow over the flame.

    Melancholy washed over Lana, but only for a second. She'd made herself a promise not to let the darkness consume her like it had years ago after Dad died.

    Taking a deep breath, she forced a smile and wandered to the group of tourists.

    "Hey, guys. This will have to be your last marshmallow. The weather's a little quirky so we're going to head back."

    A middle-aged couple stood, ready to go; a mom and dad with three kids encouraged them to finish their toasting; Ashley and Sketch shared a quick kiss and then started packing up supplies.

    Lana did a quick head count. Odd. They were two short. She counted again. Sixteen, including herself. The boat's capacity was seventeen plus Lana, which meant two people had wandered off. She checked her list of tourists on her smart-phone. Yep, just as she thought: the teenage couple must have wandered off. Although she'd asked the guests to stay within sight of the campfire, she knew that some teens suffered from selective hearing.

    She motioned to Sketch and Ashley. "We're two short. Sketch, come with me."

    She grabbed a lantern and motioned him toward the trail leading to the north side of the island. Sketch glanced over his shoulder. The full moon illuminated the playful smile he shot back at Ashley.

    "You guys are adorable," Lana said. And truth be told, she was a bit envious.

    She missed being in a relationship, having someone join her for a movie or hiking adventure in the nearby state park. Yet being in the wrong relationship was worse than being alone. She'd learned that the hard way during her eight months with Vincent.

    "Why are we going this way?" Sketch asked. "I'm guessing they went to Lover's Point."

    "Why?"

    "I was a teenager once." A regretful smile played across her lips at the memory of young love. She...

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