USA Today Bestselling Author
Carson is pleasantly surprised by the job Levi assigns him, until Carson hears all the details. An elderly friend of Ice’s believes someone is out to kill her. But she has no proof, no suspects, no motives. The police think she’s imagining things and won’t look into the case any further. However, after meeting this lady … and her granddaughter, Carson has his own suspicions.
Eva doesn’t want Carson in the house. She doesn’t want anyone in the house, if she were honest. As an artist, she loves her space, her freedom, and especially her privacy. This man is a distraction and soon could become so much more—her muse. And that is dangerous on various levels.
But, if his presence saves her grandmother, then Eva will do anything to keep her safe even put up with the man that makes her feel things she had never expected.
Like all the others before him, Carson is skeptical over the matchmaking that seems to happen, especially when Levi tells him he’s next. After all who is he going to fall for looking a threat to an elderly friend of Ice’s. He only has a week to figure this out and it’s going to be more difficult than he imagines.
Eva wants no one in her space at all. She’s an artist with her first show coming up and doesn’t want or need distractions. She does want her grandmother safe so she’s going to have to make some concessions.
Eva’s the one who answers the door when Carson arrives. She’s less than welcoming, in fact she’s downright rude. She doesn’t want anyone in her space especially not her studio. Although she does realize her grandmother’s safety is of the utmost importance.
This is a favorite scene.
There was only the one way up, so taking those stairs back down, he spied a door on one of the landings, built into the paneling. The job was so well done that most people wouldn’t know it was even here. He popped it open and stepped through, realizing that he’d come out on a landing that connected both staircases.
Now he made his way upstairs to the other section of the second floor, over the main part of the house. As he went down the hallway, he found yet another hidden door as well. Behind it were stairs going up to the third floor.
Shaking his head, he quickly went through the main portion of the second floor, finding guest bedrooms and what appeared to be Aida’s master bedroom.
He did a quick search, checking the windows and the doors and the overall security, then making sure that the room measurements actually lined up with the original blueprints in a way that made sense.
By the time he made his way to the third floor, he’d entered a completely different space— open and airy— and he knew that on this floor would be Eva’s studio. As he stepped forward, a door opened, and there she was, glaring at him.
He smiled gently and reminded her, “I’m only here to help.”
Her shoulders sagged, and she nodded. “Then you might as well come in, but, after you’ve seen it, I don’t want you back in here ever again.”
“If I don’t have to, I won’t,” he replied. As he stepped inside, his gaze was immediately drawn to several easels, but they were all covered up.
He nodded to himself, thinking about how private she must want to keep everything. Whether that was because of the show or because of a lack of confidence, he didn’t know. He quickly wandered through, inspecting all the windows, checking the locks and latches, and looking down from here. This floor was at least thirty or forty feet off the ground. He saw no ivy, no latticework. Basically no way to get up quietly. It would take a very large ladder to scale this height. Or a helicopter, which he dismissed due to the noise it would make.
As he worked his way through this suite, he checked out a bathroom and then found a connecting door, which must lead to her bedroom on the other side. “Do you use this entire top floor?”
She nodded, grudgingly. “A lounge is on the other side.”
“Your bedroom, correct?” She nodded. “I don’t have to check it right now. It can be put off to later. Is anybody else up here ever?”
“No, this is my home.”
He stopped, looked at her, and added, “I know you don’t want to answer this, but I need to know. Have you ever had a boyfriend or fiancé or anybody who’s been up here?”
“I do— or did, I should say. So of course he’s been here,” she snapped.
“Did he stay the night?”
“No, I respect my grandmother too much for that.”
He nodded. “But he did have access.”
“Well, yes, in the sense that I was here and that he would come up sometimes to see me.”
He nodded. “And does he have a key to the house?”
“No, he does not.” She stared at him.
And again he just nodded.
“Do most people hand out access to their homes?” she asked, puzzled.
“Mostly, no,” he replied, “but, in some cases— like for a fiancé— then sure. Some people also do it for convenience, so, if they’re away, and the plumber needs access, a family member or neighbor could let him in. You know? That sort of thing.”
She chewed on her bottom lip and shook her head. “I’ve never given anyone a key. To me, although it’s my home, it is still my grandmother’s house, so I would never take such a liberty.”
“Good for now. The fewer keys we must track down, the better.”
“Good luck with that.” Her gaze narrowed. “I know some keys went missing a while back.”
“What’s a while back? Like how long ago? Do you have any idea where they went?”
“No, I don’t know anything else about it.” She frowned. You must ask Grandma or Flora.”
“We’ll take a look at that,” he noted, “or else we’ll just get the locks changed.”
She winced at that. “You have no idea what you’re saying. Some of these locks are very, very old.”
“I’m sure they are,” he agreed calmly, “but we don’t want to give anybody easy access to you or your home.”
“I think if it were that easy,” she replied, “they would have already come in.”
“How do you know they haven’t?” he shot back.
She stared at him. He watched as fear remained on her expressive features.She added, “This house is so big, I wouldn’t know. One time a cleaning person was working here, and I had no idea she was even here, and she’d been around for about six days. So, when I crossed paths with her in the kitchen about midnight, I was pretty freaked out about it. That’s when we stopped having cleaning staff stay overnight.”
“I can see that happening,” Carson replied. “You have a ton of space here. And, even for the person working here, it would have taken them weeks to get a real feel of the layout.”
“Exactly. This happened years ago, when I was still dealing with the loss of my parents. So I didn’t handle it very well. It was like the boogeyman jumped up and surprised me.”
“That’s understandable,” he murmured, then turned and walked back to her door. With a final look around, he said, “Thank you for your time. I’ll leave you to work,” and he stepped out. Just then came a gong. When he looked back in at her, she smiled.
“That’s the dinner bell.”
“Oh, I guess that means I’ll see you downstairs then.”
At that, her phone buzzed. She groaned as she looked down.
“No, I just asked Flora to text me whenever dinner was ready.”
“You need a text after that gong?”
“Sometimes, yes,” she murmured, “but I actually wanted the text in advance of the gong.” She smirked. “So I’d be ready, but I guess I should be happy I got a text at all.”
“How do you get on with Flora?”
“I guess that’s another part of your job, isn’t it?” she asked. “Do you really like to snoop into people’s lives?”
“Nope, I sure don’t,” he admitted, “but I really like saving them.”
At that, she shut up.
Dale Mayer. Carson’s Choice (Kindle Locations 404-458) Valley Publishing Ltd..
So many secrets these folks are keeping. I really gave Carson kudos for his patience with both Eva and Aida. The one thing he does set up quickly is getting equipment to search for devices and then planning out a new security system.
Stone and Flynn both come to assist, and even more things start coming to a head. They’re the ones to notice the attraction between Carson and Eva. I really got a kick out of the reactions.
Plenty of suspense and intrigue as this book heats up.
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.