Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One Good Man!

One Good Man, by Lacey Thorn and Cindy Spencer Pape, is available today! Check out this Thanksgiving treat at

One of the most enduring of all urban legends is the story of the phantom hitchhiker. Young or old, male or female, in need of help or just needing a ride, the legends vary. A helpful driver offers a ride and the passenger gives directions. When they arrive at the destination however, the driver discovers the passenger has vanished, sometimes leaving behind a piece of clothing or some other memento to mark his or her passing. A stormy night, a deserted country road, a blown tire, and a woman on the run from a killer. Is the handsome young Marine here to save her? Or is he just a figment of her imagination?

Casey is caught between a murderer, a ghost and the wounded soldier who could either save her life or break her heart. Grant can deal with Thanksgiving snowstorms and determined killers but not his brother’s ghost, and not a woman who makes him start thinking about the future. Can Grant let go of the past to embrace the explosive passion he finds with Casey? He’s willing to risk his life for hers, but what about his heart?

“Miss, can you tell me how badly you’re hurt?”

“Not bad.” She started to shake her head but winced and gave a little moan instead. “Was going pretty slow by the time we hit the tree.”

“We? Was there someone else in the car?” He shined the flashlight around the back seat, found no signs of another occupant.

“Umm-hmm.” She straightened slowly as if testing each movement. The dome light and his flashlight provided enough illumination to tell she was fairly young, with a cascade of long brown curls, a heart shaped face and big green eyes. “I picked him up a few miles back after he helped me change a tire. Said the bus dropped him off at the highway and he was trying to get home for Thanksgiving.”

“Well, once we get you inside, I’ll come back out and look.” He wasn’t sure if she was delusional or if her hitchhiker had fled before the cops could be called, but either way he didn’t figure he’d find any tracks. With no working phone lines he couldn’t call an ambulance or the cops anyway, but if there had been a rider, he was gone now.

“Do you think you can stand?” God he hoped so. He didn’t think his body was up to carrying her all the way up the hill.

“Let’s get you up to the cabin then.”

“Okay.” She leaned into the Jeep and pulled out a big leather shoulder bag. She staggered a little as she straightened but caught herself on the door. “One ankle’s a little sore, but it will hold.”

“Good.” He leaned past her and swung the door shut. “Cause the phone’s out, so it would be kind of tough to call an ambulance.”

“I’ll make it. And I’d sell my left arm for a cup of coffee.”

“That I can manage.” He’d dug out the old metal percolator before the power went out. He took her arm again, helped her climb over the tree, and started guiding her slowly up the hill. “The cabin’s a good ways up the road. Let me know if you need to stop and catch your breath for a second.”

“I’m good. I’m going to have a nice collection of bruises, a puffy ankle and a knot on my forehead, but nothing major.”

“If you say so.” The head injury would be the one to watch. She kept up pretty well, so he wasn’t too concerned. Of course with his leg and the ice that wasn’t necessarily saying much. The rain had started up again by the time they made it up the hill, making the trip even tougher. When they reached the cabin she stopped on the porch and kicked the snow off her sneakers before following him inside.

“Power’s out,” he told her as he unzipped his coat and stuffed his gloves in the pockets. “But there’s plenty of firewood and the stove’s propane, so we should be all right.”

She looked around and gave him a smile that went straight to his gut—and lower. Jesus—in the firelight she was even prettier than he’d realized—all long hair, long legs and the most kissable damned mouth he’d ever seen.

“Nice place.”

“I like it.” He shrugged and turned away to hang his coat on a peg beside the door. He held out a hand for her coat carefully avoiding any contact with her skin when he took it, then hung it beside his own.

She followed him over to the fire, held out her bare hands to warm in front of the flames.

“Thanks for the rescue.” He dragged a couple chairs over to the fireside, and with a sigh she sank down into one. As soon as he sat down beside her, she stuck out her hand. “I’m Casey, Casey Shields.”

He shook her hand then leaned his elbows on his thighs to hide his body’s instant reaction to even that most casual touch. He hadn’t had a waking erection in months. Why the hell had the equipment picked today to go back into working order? He managed to nod an acknowledgement and return her introduction. “Pleased to meet you, Casey Shields. My name’s Grant Kincaid.”

Her forest-green eyes widened and sparkled, “Oh you are Grant. Good! Now where is Lee? I assumed he’d come up to the cabin to get help.”

Every hair on Grant’s body stood on end and his guts clenched in a knot. “What the bloody hell are you talking about?”

“Lee. Your brother.” She tilted her head to the side in a damn good imitation of confusion. “Oh that’s right—he said it was a surprise—you didn’t know he was coming. But you have to go out and look for him. He could be hurt!”

“Lady, I don’t know what kind of scam you think you’re running, but unless you want to walk back to town it ends right now.”

She blinked up at him with those big green eyes—those big green lying eyes. “What’s wrong with you? Your brother could be lost out there somewhere, or hurt. Don’t you even care?”

Rage burned in his belly. He wouldn’t have been nearly this pissed if she’d shoved a gun in Grant’s face. There wasn’t much left that he gave a damn about, but Lee’s name, Lee’s memory—those were still sacred. Maybe the only things left that were. “You’ve got about two seconds to tell me what the hell is going on before I open that door and throw you out into the ice.”

“I have no idea.” She threw up her hands. “All I did was offer a ride to a nice young Marine who helped me out when I got a flat tire. And in return I got a smashed up Jeep, a sore ankle and a bitch of a headache.”

He started to speak but she shook her head and kept on going. “I don’t know what the hell your problem is, and frankly I don’t much care. All I really wanted to do was to get to my own cabin and get some sleep since I’ve been driving all night. You on the other hand, might want to go find your baby brother—who seems for some reason to idolize you even though you are obviously a freaking lunatic.”

Grant stood and leaned over her, pinning her into her chair by leaning one hand on each armrest.

“Listen, lady. I don’t know what your game is, but mention my brother one more time and I will toss you out into the freezing rain. But just in case you hit your head harder than I thought and you’ve got amnesia, I’m going to say this nice and clear. My little brother Lee is dead. I watched him get blown to pieces right in front of my face, so there’s no mistaking it. Lee Sherman Kincaid died January fourteenth at five thirty six pm in a fucking tent in Iraq.”

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