NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
She left her painful past behind.
Poppy Larsen is finally free. She moved to Crimson Point to make a new life for herself, full of bright possibilities. A whole new world awaits her, if she can find the courage to trust again—even her gorgeous neighbor, the town sheriff. But darkness lurks in the picturesque Oregon Coast town, concealing a deadly threat that’s closer than she ever imagined.
Now a killer is watching her from the shadows.
Sheriff Noah Buchanan can’t help but be intrigued by his new neighbor. She’s hard working, sexy as hell, and unlike most of the women in town, she hasn’t thrown herself at him. After it becomes clear that she plans to put down roots here, he finds himself falling more and more for Poppy and her big heart. When someone from her past tries to hurt her, it triggers all his protective instincts. But the real danger is hiding in plain sight. When the unthinkable happens, Noah is thrust into a race against time to save her before it’s too late.
We met Poppy at the end of Fractured Honor as Noah lends her a hand painting her store after discovering she’s his new neighbor. She moved to Crimson Point for a new beginning, with a house that needs work and a store front needing the same. She worked hard and had managed to open the bookstore and café for business before tourist season hits.
Noah has been really busy, the FBI has sending him more and more information on missing women from the surrounding area on top of all the normal town business. He is delighting in getting to know his new neighbor, and in that regard actually sets up a poker night with the guys to be held at her bookstore Whale’s Tale.
This is a favorite scene.
Whatever else Poppy Larsen was, she was a damn hard worker. She’d done most of the renos on the shop herself, due to budget constraints, and apparently was committed to rolling up her sleeves at home as well. “Are you planning to paint the fence once you’re done washing it?” It was yellowed and peeling in places.
“Yeah, it needs a new coat of paint, and so does the cottage. Everything’s peeling. I’ll get to the landscaping later.”
She intended to do all of that in addition to running her own business that had just opened? “You can borrow my sprayer again. And the lady you bought this place from had a landscaper come take care of the yard once a week during spring and summer, then do a cleanup a few times over the fall and winter. We get big windstorms here in the winter, so you’ll have a lot of downed branches from the trees.”
He nodded at the tall cedars and firs bordering the east side of her property. “I can get you the guy’s name and number if you’re interested. He’s pretty reasonable, and he has a lot of clients here in the area, including Beckett.” Noah’s best friend, and future brother-in-law. Damn, that sounded weird.
“Have you used him?”
“No, but my yard’s way smaller than yours, and I don’t have many trees.”
“Okay, that would be great if you could give me his number. Thank you.” Poppy considered him for a moment. “I was thinking of hosting a poker night this coming Thursday down at the shop. I’m getting a liquor license for special events like that. Do you or anyone you know like to play?”
Noah blocked a frown from forming. Poker at a bookshop-slash-tearoom? “I know some guys.”
She beamed at him, her sunny smile transforming her entire face. And it had already been pretty before. “Great. I’ll be doing board game nights there as well, some Dungeons and Dragons, things like that. And by the way, I haven’t forgotten that I promised you a cherry pie for helping me paint the shop. I just haven’t had the chance to make it yet.”
His lips quirked. “I wouldn’t say no to a cherry pie, but I don’t want you to go to any trouble. You’re really busy.”
She shrugged. “I’ll fit it in. I always keep my promises.”
“Well that’s nice to hear. Since we’re neighbors, and all.”
Her eyes sparkled at him. Not flirtatious, however. Warm. Sincere. “Exactly.”
No flirting and she’d been in a rush to cover up. He was getting more curious about her by the minute. She also made it damn hard to stay wary of her and her background. “Tell you what. I’ll make some calls and see if I can get a couple of my buddies to come out on Thursday.”
“That’d be great, thank you.”
“No problem. And don’t hold off on the power washing on my account. I’m up now.”
“All right.” She held up the plate, raised her tawny eyebrows. “Want anything else?”
Oh, he did. But it wasn’t on the menu, and wasn’t going to be. “I’m good. Gimme a couple minutes to make some calls and I’ll let you know about Thursday.”
The first person he called was Beckett.
“It’s not even seven-thirty in the morning,” his best friend grumbled. Noah’s sister, Sierra, had moved in with him just over a month ago. “Better be important.”
“I thought anything after oh-four-hundred was considered sleeping in for a Green Beret.”
“Former Green Beret. Now that I’m a civilian again, I remembered how much I love sleeping. So, what’s up?”
“You, me and Weaver, poker game this Thursday night.”
“Poker? Man, we haven’t done that in years. At your place?” Beckett asked.
“Seven at the new bookshop in town. Whale’s Tale.”
“Whale’s Tale? What?”
“Just be there. We still on for tonight?” They were having a barbecue at Beckett and Sierra’s.
Beckett grunted. “If you hang up right now and let your sister and me get back to sleep, then yeah.”
Now that was a mental image Noah didn’t need. He loved them both, but even after a few weeks to adjust, it was still weird to think of Beckett and Sierra getting married and having a family together someday. “Okay. But next time you see your yard guy, can you have him call me? My neighbor might be interested in hiring him.”
“I’ll text him. If you hang up right now.”
“Fine. See you later.” He hung up and called Weaver, a former teammate of Beckett’s, who was much perkier than Beckett had been.
Noah ended the call and walked back to the fence. Poppy had hauled the power washer over to the far corner, still wearing her shirt over her bikini top. Noah flagged her down before she could fire it up. “The three of us are in for Thursday night.”
Her face lit up. “That’s fantastic, thank you. If you think of anyone else, please let them know.”
“Will do.” He turned and headed back toward his house, in a far better mood than he’d been in ten minutes ago. And maybe, if he was lucky, Poppy would decide to take that flannel shirt off once he went back inside. Then he could enjoy his morning coffee while standing in front of the kitchen window and admire the view.
Yep, no doubt about it. Hardwired cynicism aside, his neighborhood had gotten a major upgrade the day she’d moved in next door.
Cross, Kaylea. Buried Lies (Crimson Point Series Book 2) . Kaylea Cross Inc. Kindle Locations (157-201). Kindle Edition.
All is not fun and poker though. A woman from town is reported missing and the search to find her becomes even more urgent with the possibility of a serial killer on the loose. Some anxious moments for Poppy with a guy from the garden store. Poppy is the one who finds the girl as town folk perform a grid search. Becoming a sort of hero has Poppy a bit embarrassed but business immediately picks up.
With the help of Noah and his friends, things start shaping up at Poppy’s home as well. Noah’s attraction to her increases as he tries to get a real date with her but they end up grilling in his yard. When some of her past comes to light she’s afraid she’s lost the respect of everyone. Not true of course but the pain was present and she worried about losing Noah because of it.
Something I also like about these books is the glimpses we get of the bad guy, it lets us know what’s in his head and keeps us on our toes.
There’s some sizzling heat as well as suspense as this tale unfolds. Have plenty of tissues on hand it’s very hard to read with tears streaming down your face. Plenty of fun and laughter and camaraderie too as Noah and Poppy discover love.
I’ve already reviewed Shattered Vows, so the next book reviewed will be Rocky Ground. Seriously don’t miss this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Kaylea!
Click the Cover for Buy Links
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers’ Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.