USA Today Bestselling Author
Catherine. DeeDee. Paris. Kano had hoped to never deal with the three again. The woman he loved, her dragon of a mother, and a city to bring the best—and worst—memories to mind. A return trip leads to a conversation with DeeDee, which sheds more light on who is behind Bullard’s murder in that planned plane explosion.
After seeing Catherine again, Kano can’t stop thinking about her. That young woman matured into someone he couldn’t have imagined and now can’t forget. However, he’s afraid her powerful mother is setting him up to die—yet again.
Catherine hadn’t expected to see Kano again, but this time she’s not letting him walk away. And she’s prepared to face off against her snake of a mother to save him. Catherine must plumb the depths of her own soul and that of her family to save Kano—and herself.
Bullard’s still missing and his team is determined to find him and eliminate those who are trying to do the same to them. All the clues are leading to DeeDee and her crew which doesn’t make sense but yet it does.
Kano has history here, DeeDee’s daughter Catherine is someone he loved a long time ago, but she wasn’t ready to know the truth of everything around her.
As we get our first look at Catherine her mother tells her Kano’s coming and the conversation somehow turns to DeeDee’s husbands and the fact they’re all dead. She really hoped Kano would stay away from her mother, but obviously that’s not going to happen. A text to Kano gets a response that has her going to the dinner they’re having with ‘the black widow’.
This is a favorite scene of that dinner.
Kano leaned toward DeeDee. “In that case, maybe you’ll do your best to help us find him then?”
At that, her mother’s gaze widened. “You think he’s alive?” She sat forward eagerly.
“Absolutely,” he said. “We’re just figuring out if he was kidnapped or if somebody else is hiding him, since people are still after him.”
“People like Bullard always have people after them,” DeeDee said. “That’s the way you judge them, by the enemies they have.”
“Says you,” Kano said easily. “Not everybody thinks that same way.”
“Then they’re fools,” she said. “I heard he had crashed,” she admitted abruptly. Just then the waiters arrived, and silence fell on the table. The food was served, including Catherine’s dish. She smiled her thanks, and, once the waitstaff disappeared, Kano looked back at her mother and asked, “What did you hear?”
“I heard that the plane had been blown up,” she said. “That’s not exactly something you can keep quiet.”
“Who did you hear it from?”
“One of my men,” she said.
“No. If Gregg had come to me, I could have helped him,” she snapped. “I would never have blamed him for Bullard’s crash.”
“And yet somebody who worked for you tried to persuade him to be a part of it.”
“When they couldn’t,” she said, with a shrug, “they tried to blame Gregg. Everybody needs a patsy.”
“And the people who work for you were behind this?”
“Nobody said they were behind it,” she said. “And they aren’t people who work for me. They were people who used to work for me.”
“So tell me about them.”
“Rod is an arrogant SOB, who thinks he’s too good to work for a woman,” she said immediately. “He has aligned himself with a bunch of people I rejected as not having sufficient qualities or the correct morals to work for the company,” she said, “but water will always find its own level, and he found his.”
“You think they’re behind it?”
She frowned. “I wouldn’t have thought so,” she said, “but it would be hard to decide that without more information.”
“Any idea where we can find their offices?”
“As far as I know, they’ve all hit the ground, running in the opposite direction. Whatever the hell you guys did in England these last couple days has split them all up.”
“Or made it look like they’re split up,” Kano said.
She frowned and nodded. “You never really can tell,” she said. “They’re rats, all of them.”
“Interesting,” he murmured.
She glared at him. “You might not like me,” she said, “but you did almost become my son-in-law.”
“Maybe,” he said, “and you’re right. I don’t particularly like you.”
She laughed out loud at that. “Good thing,” she snapped, “because I would have taken off your head at some point in time. You hurt my daughter. That’s inexcusable.”
It was all Catherine could do to keep her mouth shut on that point.
Her mother looked at her and said, “You never did understand, did you?”
“I still don’t apparently,” she said. “Why would you have anything to do with Kano and me?”
“Because you were too innocent,” she said. “Somebody had to look after you.”
“That’s how you raised me,” she said.
“I did, but I didn’t expect you to be quite so …” And she left it hanging.
“Yes, that’s true. Naïve is a good way to describe it.”
She frowned at her mother. “I’m not that bad,” Catherine said.
“Not now,” she said. “You’re finally showing a bit of spine. But you’re still a long way off. You’re like a kitten with these little claws.”
The insult was blatant. Catherine wasn’t sure what was behind it, but she took it with a bright smile. “I see you’re as direct as always,” she said.
“It’s not as if you’ve had lunch or dinner with me in the last year, have you?”
“No, I haven’t,” she said, “but I don’t live here permanently either.”
“Yet Kano crooks his finger, and here you are,” she said snidely.
“You don’t know anything about the relationship that I have with Kano,” Catherine said coolly. “Or why I may have come. The fact remains, you never invited me.”
“I didn’t know you were in town, did I?”
At that, Catherine burst out with honest laughter.
“That is definitely a lie,” she said. “Dear Mother, you always keep track of where I am every moment in the day.”
Her mother glared at her. “You’re my daughter. What do you expect me to do?”
“I’m not sure,” she said. “You’ve never been a typical mother, so typical mother things don’t apply.”
“Maybe I can learn,” her mother said.
Was that a note of desperation? Catherine decided she’d imagined it. “I don’t think so,” she said. “You are who you are.”
“Damn right I am,” she said, “and the sooner you accept that, the better off everybody will be.”
“Interesting,” she said. “I didn’t think what I believed impacted you in any way,” she said.
“It doesn’t.” And, with a sneer, she looked at the guys. “I’ll send you an address,” she said. “It’s the last one I have for that group. I was keeping tabs on them to see how much trouble they could get into. If they had anything to do with Bullard, I don’t know about it.”
“Good enough,” Kano said.
DeeDee had finished her dinner, and, without a word, she stood, waved her hand, and said, “The least you can do is pay for my dinner.” At that, she turned and walked out.
Fallon muttered, “We intended to in the first place.”
Her mother laughed and disappeared from sight.
“It’s just my mother’s way to have a parting shot, so it makes her look in control,” Catherine murmured, setting her fork on her almost empty plate.
Kano looked at her in surprise.
She smiled a little sheepishly and said, “Yes, I’ve grown up.”
“Good,” he said, with feeling.
“You don’t have to make it sound that bad.”
He flushed in surprise.
She pivoted in her seat to face him. “I was young. I was naïve— make that stupid. I know,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of years trying to regain control of my life.”
“Sounds like you have,” he said.
She shrugged. “There was room.”
“Sure,” he said, “but just because there’s room doesn’t mean people are ready to make the change they need to.”
“And not everybody,” she said, “is capable of seeing the change that has to be made.”
He tilted his head, focused on Catherine’s eyes, her expression. “Sounds like you have come a long way. I’m glad for you,” he said, with a nod.
“What about you?”
He stared at her, nonplussed.
She smiled. “You never did know what to do with direct talk, did you?”
“I can talk directly with the best of them, but, once it comes to relationship stuff, it gets a whole lot more confusing.”
At that, she burst out laughing. “Not really,” she said. “It’s actually very, very simple.”
“No. No, it isn’t,” he said, “because, right now, you’re talking in circles, and I’m not sure what you’re trying to say.”
“I’m not trying to say anything,” she said, “but it was important to me— for my growth and for my future— that I let you know that I’m no longer the same innocent child that I was.”
“And, for that, I’m happy,” he said sincerely.
She smiled, nodded, and said, “I’m happy with my growth too.” She placed her napkin beside her plate. Then she stood, and both men stood at her side. She turned to Fallon. “It was nice meeting you, Fallon.”
“Likewise,” he murmured, and she also felt a certain sincerity in his words. Feeling triumphant, she quickly made good on her exit.
Dale Mayer. Kano’s Keep (Kindle Locations 359-428). Valley Publishing.
The dinner is just the starting point, there are still many unanswered questions.
Catherine’s profession also adds some interesting twists in this tale as the guys help her out. There’s plenty of attraction between her and Kano, but there’s also the problem of her mother.
With action, suspense, more than a little intrigue and a love that never really died, we get closer to the truth of what’s happened with Bullard.
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.