USA Today Bestselling Author
Living a quiet life with her aging father, Sammy is surprised by an offer of help when she gets an unexpected flat tire. Strangers in this area are not common, and neither are they well received. Still this stranger’s a can-do person, and she instinctively turns to him when she soon needs additional help.
Only to find he’s partly why she’s in trouble—and he’s got bigger troubles of his own. Now they both had to get out of this nightmare and somewhere safe and sound, … before it’s too late.
The next clues in the every frustrating search for answers lead to Switzerland. Eton follows directions to a relatively remote Chalet and on the way stops to aid a young woman changing a flat tire. All he had to do was tighten the lug nuts on the spare she already had on. Although the encounter was innocent he sends the info to Cain to check out.
Arriving at the Chalet, Eton is pissed to find Garrett. The man has barely been out of the coma and he’s back in the field. Garrett is having none of it though and reiterates he can do the job and rest at the same time. Stubborn males! They need to set up to capture the location of the phone they’re tracking so they climb behind the chalet to the top of the hill that separates them from the village where the last signal originated.
They have an unexpected visitor while up there, Sammy apparently likes to run cross country at night to relax. She’s a local and doesn’t seem concerned about the darkness. She does give a bit more information about her tire and her father, which was a bit strange, but she seems to sense Eton and Garrett are okay. Although she does get a bit wary by the end of their conversation.
When the phone comes on line Eton heads to the village to try to pinpoint the location, finding condos in construction and a couple of houses with dogs. A start but no real info comes the next day when Eton goes to the village and speaks with the butcher and then Joe a grandfather working to save for his grandson’s surgery and aftercare.
Eton would like to know more and decides to invite Sammy for coffee, not only for information but because he likes her.
This is a favorite scene.
Her father opened a bottle of wine, and she brought out dinner. He was seated at the table, and, just as she was about to join him, her phone rang. She looked at it and frowned.
“You going to answer that?” her father asked, as he picked up the great big serving spoon and served himself a hefty scoop.
She smiled at the amount. That was a lot of food for somebody who supposedly wasn’t hungry. “I will,” she said. “I just don’t know the number.”
He peered over and said, “Oh, Private Caller, huh? A secret admirer?”
“I doubt it,” she said, and, when she went to answer it, nobody was there. She shrugged and said, “Must have been a wrong number.”
“Oh, he’ll call back,” her father said, with a wink. She smiled, and, when the phone did ring again, she planned to ignore it, until she saw Annie’s name. She answered it and put it on Speakerphone. “Hello, Annie. I’m here with Dad, having dinner. How are you?”
“I’m okay,” she said, but her voice was shaky.
“Something else happen?”
“Well, I was followed home from town today,” she said. “At least I think so. I’m starting to feel paranoid.”
“Well, sometimes it’s for a good reason,” she said. “We don’t want you to make light of something that’s important.”
“That’s not helping me much,” she said.
“No, it probably isn’t, and I’m sorry. I’m not sure what to say,” she said. “What kind of a vehicle was it?”
“It was a truck, like my ex’s.”
“But did you recognize him?”
“No,” she said. “I didn’t. That’s the thing. It was just a big truck. Anybody could have had been driving it.”
“Well, lots of people do have them,” she said. “We can’t go looking for boogeymen where there aren’t any.”
“But what if there are, and I didn’t see it coming?” she cried out.
“Are you home now?”
“Yes, my vehicle was taken by the garage, and new tires put on. They sent a courtesy car to pick me up when it was ready.”
“That was nice,” she said. “And now you are home again with good tires, right?”
“Yes, all good, except for the cost,” she said. “That was not cheap. It pisses me off. I don’t have that kind of money.”
“Not many people do,” she said, “so there’s lots of things to consider.”
“I know. Anyway I just thought I’d let you know I was home.” With that, her friend hung up.
Frowning, she looked at her father and shrugged. “You heard as much as I did, but I don’t know what to make of it.”
“Sounds like that husband of hers is getting to be a headache.”
“Possibly,” she said, “but we don’t know that for sure.”
“The trouble with this scenario,” her father said, “is you won’t know anything until it’s too damn late.”
She winced at that and said, “Well, let’s hope not.”
When her phone rang again, she looked at it and said, “It’s a Private Caller again.”
“Well, answer it,” he urged.
She glared at him. “The first call was nobody.”
“Doesn’t mean this one is,” he said. “You have to break out of your shell sometimes.”
“I’ve broken out of my shell,” she protested. He just rolled his eyes at her. She glared at him but answered the phone anyway. “Hello?”
The man’s voice made her sit up straight. “Yes. Is this Eton?”
“It is,” he said. “I just wanted to invite you out for coffee.”
She stared at her father, who by now almost danced in place. “How did you get my number?” she asked.
“It’s pretty easy to get from a directory. Remember the business I’m in?”
“I don’t think I want to,” she said. “It’s a little creepy.”
“Well, I figured it would be a long cold day before you’d give your number to me,” he said, chuckling. “Remember? I’m harmless.”
“Said the spider to the fly,” she finished quickly.
At that, her father gasped in outrage and shook his head at her.
“Coffee could be nice,” she said cautiously, “but why do I feel like there’s an ulterior motive involved?” Again her father stared at her in shock. He reached over and spanked her lightly on her arm. “Fine,” she said.
“Coffee at a little café in town, how is that?”
“When?” she asked, staring down at her dinner.
“Half an hour? How does that work for you?”
She thought about it, but her father was busy nodding his head. He leaned forward into the phone and said, “Perfect. She’ll be there.”
She gasped and quickly hung up the phone. “Seriously, Dad? Did you just do that?”
“You know I did,” he said. “That poor guy could wait in the rain until he died from a chill before you’d have answered.”
“I was getting around to it,” she said defensively. “I try to think before I speak, you know?”
“Well, now you don’t have to,” he replied. She just rolled her eyes him. He motioned at her dinner. “You better eat up because you’re just going for coffee. You might get a dessert down there, if they’ve been baking and didn’t sell out.” He frowned at her, thinking about that. “I haven’t had anything from there in a long time.”
“I can bring you back something, if you want,” she said, with a gentle smile, because her father did love his sweets. “But remember. There is also still cake.”
“Tea and cake,” he said, his gaze immediately scanning the kitchen, as if looking for the cake.
“Dad, you’re not getting cake until after dinner.”
“Right,” he said, looking down at his dinner. He picked up his fork and started shoveling it in, at a rate that was impossible to keep up. “You don’t have to rush,” she protested.
“Yes, I do, because you’re leaving soon,” he said, “and I don’t like to eat without company.”
Sometimes, nothing he said made any sense, but she just sat down and started eating her own plateful. By the time she was done, she looked at her dad and said, “I need to leave soon. I’ll put on the teakettle and cut you a piece of cake before I go, okay?”
“Of course,” he said, sitting back with a happy sigh. “That was excellent, as usual.”
“It is a taste that is hard to let go of, once you get it in your mouth, isn’t it?”
“Absolutely,” he said.
She got up, put on the teakettle for him, rinsed out the teapot, and set it up with the tea bags, then walked over and put out the cake. She cut about a half-inch slice, and he said, “Now, if you’ll make them small, you might as well cut me two.”
She looked at him and said, “Or maybe I’m bringing you something.”
He frowned at her and said, “I can have both.”
Such a childlike quality was to his voice that she had to laugh. “You sure can,” she said. “Besides, you did eat your dinner.”
“I did,” he said, with a happy smile.
She brought over a single piece of cake and said, “There is more over there, if you want it. I’ll put it away when I get home tonight.”
He nodded and said, “Be nice to him.”
“Be nice to who?”
“The new boyfriend,” he said, with a nod of satisfaction.
“I’m going for coffee, Dad,” she said. “That’s it.”
“That’s how they all start,” he said. “Not to worry. If you’re good and be quiet,” he said, “you’ll probably get there.”
“Dad, if I have to be quiet, I’m not interested,” she snapped. But he turned that big grin her way, and she realized that, once again, he’d been joking. Because of his illness, sometimes she didn’t know when he was and when he wasn’t, and, on a touchy topic like this, it was easy to take offense. She smiled. “You are trouble, mister.”
“You love me anyway,” he said comfortably.
“That I do.” She raced back, gave him a big hug and a kiss, and said, “I won’t be long.”
“You can be as long as you like,” he said. “I can’t believe you’re dating.” And he started to raise his hands in a mock cheer. At that, she turned and raced from the house. This was the last thing she wanted to put up with. Her father meant well. She just wasn’t into relationships if there wasn’t a spark. And she also wasn’t into relationships if there was only a spark. There had to be a whole lot more for her to want to go down that pathway. Especially now.
Dale Mayer. Eton’s Escape (Kindle Locations 885-957). Valley Publishing.
I really liked the way Sammy’s father intervened to get her to accept the coffee date. He’s a character, and he’s also dying which makes me sad for Sammy.
While having coffee, Joe calls him and this leads to a whole new can of worms.
Lots of suspense, action, surprises and a romance that just seems to happen in that slow simmer to sizzle I love.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.