NY Times Bestselling Author
She’s living a secret life
Sophie Winchester is the all-American small-town girl–except for her secret life creating mayhem as horror writer R. J. Colt. Nobody in her small town suspects she’s anything except the nice church administrator. And she desperately wants to keep her secret!
He’s a Cop Who’s Sworn to Protect
Chief of Police Daniel Fletcher thought his new job in a small town would be a nice change from his big city past. But when notes about a murder land on his desk, and the target appears to be Sophie, he has to go right into protective mode. Fortunately, stcking close to a woman he’s wildly attracted to–both day and night–isn’t exactly a tough assignment.
But if Daniel learns the truth, can Sophie trust him to love the real her and not the sweet girl he thinks he’s getting to know?
This is an updated, modernized and expanded edition of the Harlequin story Thrill Me.
Sophie Winfield is a quiet, sweet small town girl, at least that’s what everyone thinks. My night she’s a best-selling horror fiction writer going by the name RF Colt. Nobody in this small town knows that fact, not even her family. Her day job is the administrative assistant in the office of the United Church of Derryville. Pastor Bob and his sister Miss Hester who acts as his hostess when required would be horrified if they knew where her thoughts wandered during the day.
Sophie carries a small notebook with her as she plans her next novel, this one is just beginning so it’s nearly empty except for her thoughts on the actual killing and body disposal and the person who finds it. She’ll need to do some research on some of her planned methods though.
Daniel Fletcher is the new Chief of Police in Derryville. He moved here from Detroit, tired of the crowded, crime ridden city. Now he’s trying to adjust to small town living. It’s not really a hardship. He’s having breakfast at Al’s diner when he sees Sophie pull into the church lot and wonders why she’s just sitting there.
When she does leave the car her steps are careful as she’s carrying a large box. The box is why she doesn’t see the dog heading for a collision. This is when she meets Daniel for the first time in person.
This is a favorite scene,
Then the chief really surprised her. “I’ve seen you before. Outside the drugstore, two days before Christmas.”
“It was Christmas Eve,” she replied. She cursed her tongue for the admission.
He looked pleased by it. “You remember.”
“Um…sure,” she said. Then she hurried into a reasonable explanation, which was nowhere near the truth. “I remember because of the Grady twins. They got arrested for shoplifting. But the store owner dropped the charges when he found out they’d been trying to get a present for their baby sister since their mother couldn’t afford anything.”
He nodded, looking slightly disappointed that she’d remembered for no other reason. She didn’t correct his assumption. Truthfully, she’d never forgotten her first glimpse at the man every woman in town had been talking about. He was one fine looking specimen.
“Is his name really Cujo?”
She tilted her head in confusion, not sure what he was talking about.
“The dog. You called him Cujo.”
Uh-oh. He’d heard her less than sweet-natured mutterings to the big mutt. “No. I was kidding.”
“Oh. Because, I mean, probably a lot of St. Bernards are named Cujo because of the Stephen King book.”
She raised a brow, trying to look artless and innocent. “Book? I wouldn’t know about that, but I saw part of the movie once, on cable.” She shivered delicately. “Scary.”
He nodded. “Yeah. Probably not your thing.”
If only you knew.
The chief finally rose to his feet, almost slipping again on the ice before planting his feet in the snow instead. “They ought to salt this sidewalk.”
She frowned. “Miss Hester slashed the budget for salt. It’s only spread on the front sidewalk used by the parishioners.” She shook her head in disgust. “And, of course, the one between the residence and the church. Heaven forbid she slip and fall.”
At his raised brow, Sophie cursed her own tongue and gritted her back teeth. “Oh, that wasn’t nice, I’m sorry. Miss Hester’s a dear old thing. She just worries so much about keeping the church money to help the poor.”
He gave her a quizzical look, as if confused by her sudden change in tone, but didn’t press her. He extended his hand. “Let me help you.”
She stared at it for a minute, that big, masculine hand. He wore no gloves for protection against the cold. Nibbling her lip, she slipped her gloved fingers into his and let him pull her to her feet. Once standing, she was about to extend her thanks when her shoes skidded again. She reached out for the closest thing to grab. And because fate had a cruel sense of humor, immediately found something.
Crashing into him, until they were chest to chest, separated only by the padding of her thick parka and his leather jacket, she found herself staring up into those chocolate-brown eyes of his. She caught a whiff of spicy aftershave from his smoothly shaven cheek. She was also close enough to notice the most incredibly kissable lips she’d ever seen on a man.
“Thank you,” she whispered, “I’m awfully clumsy today.”
He gave her a slight smile. “My pleasure.”
She didn’t pull away. Not because she couldn’t easily stand on her own, but rather, because it felt so very nice to lean against his long, hard body. They stood there, right outside the church, in broad daylight. Two strangers, practically wrapped in each other’s arms, just staring at each other.
It had been a long time since she’d been in a man’s arms. A long time since a lot of things. And she’d missed those things. Particularly missed being kissed with deep, wet intimacy. Right now, she suspected she wanted that from this stranger more than she wanted to hit number one on the Times list.
She licked her lips. “I’m not usually this clumsy.”
“It’s slippery,” he replied in a low voice.
“Slippery,” she repeated, wondering why her body felt so weak all of a sudden. Now she leaned against him out of necessity because her legs felt too weak to support her.
“The ice,” he clarified. “It’s slippery.”
She swallowed. “Yes, slippery. Dangerously slick.”
He tightened his grip on her hips. His fingers curved around her with gentle possession that confirmed they were both playing a sensual word game having nothing to do with the ice.
Some devil made her add, “And hard.”
Sophie heard a soft sound that might have been a groan from deep in his throat. His jaw tightened and he closed his eyes briefly, as if needing to regain control of himself. He finally said, “Do you need me to carry you inside?”
She felt hot blood rise in her cheeks as she ordered her feet to move. Stepping back, she said, “No. I, uh…needed to take a second.” Struggling to find a reason for clinging to the man like a helpless, twitty female, she mumbled, “I just hurt my, I mean, I fell on my butt.” Oh, God, shut up, Sophie! “I mean, I’m fine now.” Fine, hell. She was a babbling idiot.
Though it didn’t spill from his lips, she saw the laughter in his eyes. He kept a hand on her elbow. “Think you can walk?”
She nodded, clenching her teeth to keep any more stupid words from coming out of her stupid mouth.
“My name’s Daniel Fletcher.”
“I know who you are.” Then, grudgingly, she added, “I’m Sophie Winchester.”
“Yes. That family.” Her family was very well known in Derryville, having lived here for more than a century. Her grandfather had been the chief of police for years.
“There are pictures all over the walls of the station of your grandfather doing good deeds.”
She nodded. “And my uncle, too, I’d imagine.” Her uncle had followed her grandfather in the role of chief.
They’d fully expected one of the members of the current generation to follow in their footsteps. Her cousin, Jared, had gone into law enforcement for a while—working with the FBI—but had left to become a writer. Not fiction, like Sophie, but true crime novels.
Carefully bending down, she began to gather up the pieces of clothing that had fallen out of the box she’d been carrying from the car. “For the rummage sale,” she explained when he bent to help her. “I cleaned out my closets.”
She spied a glittery pile of red fabric and reached out to grab it, but he beat her to it. Sophie scrunched her eyes shut, hoping he wasn’t paying attention to the clothing he picked up.
No such luck. “Hmm. This doesn’t look quite like the typical Derryville church social dress.”
She couldn’t believe she’d been foolish enough to leave the sequined red halter dress in the box.
Leslie Kelly. Just About Perfect (Kindle Locations 198-258). Kindle Edition.
Now that he’s helped her and knows she works at the church, Daniel is even more curious about Sophie.
They meet up outside of town, and she seems to be a different person altogether. A mystery for him to solve. However, another mystery pops up first when a notebook seemingly targets Sophies to be killed. Not on his watch, not at all.
A fun comedy of errors ensues as Daniel tries to find the non-existant killer before Sophie comes to harm. Sophie tries to tell him but things keep getting in the way.
Laughter, fun, romance and a bit of sizzle as these two work their way into a relationship neither thought they wanted.
5 Contented Purrs for Leslie!
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When I’m not chained to my keyboard writing, I’m enjoying my life with my husband of 25 years and our three daughters. Let me tell you, raising three girls has been way more challenging than publishing fiction!I write sexy novels for Harlequin, and also write dark romantic thrillers as Leslie A. Kelly.