We are excited to share the next installment of Glazed Suspicion by Allison Pearl, the first book in the Love and Danger in St. Claire series. Follow along with us each week for new chapters!
If you’re just joining us for this book, we recommend you start with chapter 1.
WHEN HE AND NIKKI STEPPED out of his borrowed truck and onto Nikki’s property, Josh was glad the marshals were following all leads. He’d take all the help he could get keeping Nikki safe. This newest crime was a turn for the serious. Nikki’s enemy proved just how far he was willing to go. If this violence-bent psychopath got her, Josh was sure she’d be dead.
The murderer was getting desperate. Killing Ryan had been both bold and a risk. There were DNA, ballistics, fingerprints, and a bunch of other ways to follow the evidence to the guilty party. The perp must have believed he had no other choice… Or, they manipulated the scene somehow. Since he and Nikki had snuck away from the marshal’s protection, they had no alibis and it would be easy to frame them.
Josh tried to imagine Gary planning such a nefarious plan, but he had to admit it was hard. Before the last few days, he would have believed his boss was a good man and old habits were difficult to change.
Please, God, help me see the truth.
There was a tug on his arm. He blinked at Nikki.
“You seem like you’re somewhere else. Are you okay?” Nikki’s voice was apprehensive as she hooked her bag on her shoulder.
“Yeah.” He nodded. “Just praying for some clarity.”
“Do you think you’ll find it?”
He grabbed her hand. “I do. But I’m not going to wait around for something to fall from the sky, either.”
“Then you have a plan?”
Josh grinned. “Oh yeah. I’ll tell you all about it inside because I don’t want to leave Koby and my sister alone for long. Who knows what we’ll walk in on?”
“True.” Nikki chuckled. “Although… after last night, they might say the same thing about us.”
Josh’s chest tightened and he looked away. The image of the kiss they shared filled him with uncertainty and—given the reaction she’d had after it happened—some pain, too. “So, it did happen then.” He cleared his throat. “I was beginning to think I imagined it.”
“Why?” Her eyes went wide.
“Because of you.”
“Excuse me?” She folded her arms and turned to face him, her bag swinging wide from her shoulder.
“You’ve barely been able to look into my eyes since it happened. And you’ve been going out of your way to keep a football field of physical space between us.”
“That’s not true.” She dragged her fingers through her hair. “I didn’t put space between us at the roller rink.”
“Because you were scared. Because you just lost someone. Before that, it was like you wanted to forget it ever happened.”
“I will never forget that moment.” She smacked his chest. “Never. But did you ever think that maybe I just needed time to process it? To figure out what it means?”
Josh pushed up the skin of his forehead with his fingertips. “You should know what it means. I’ve made my feelings perfectly clear and now you’re praying and seem open to my faith. We can have a future together.”
“But what if they aren’t clear?” She stamped her foot. “What if you only feel this way because of what we’re going through? Because of this intense situation?”
Josh held up a hand. “That’s not possible.”
“How do you know?”
“Because I’ve felt this way since the first time I walked into your shop.” He groaned and squeezed his hands into fists. “I didn’t go there every day just to eat a doughnut and drink coffee. I went there to get glimpses of you at the counter taking people’s orders or through the kitchen doors. I went to Apple’s to see you. My feelings are real and always have been. It’s you that needs to decide how you really feel. I’ve been an arm’s reach away from you for a year, but the only time you pulled me close was when your store was broken into. When you were scared. Just like back at the roller rink. So, maybe you’re right and someone’s feelings are only the product of sharing a scary experience, but they certainly aren’t mine. It seems to me they’re yours.”
Her jaw fell open and a hand covered her mouth. Josh wondered if she was about to yell at him or slap him and a part of him wished she would. Screaming was better than a return to silence.
But she just turned away and started towards the house. The porch step creaked as she took her first step and then stopped.
She turned back. “The morning of the break-in? The reason that was the first time I tried to kiss you was because it was the first time I wasn’t strong enough not to.”
Like what you read?
Read chapter 21 now
And don’t miss SPRINKLED WITH SABOTAGE, the latest book by Allison Pearl
About Allison Pearl
Allison Pearl is a small-town girl who’s lived just about everywhere. She loves books,tea, chocolate, and watching old movies with her husband and black lab, Sal. To keep in touch and get updates on new releases follow her Facebook page ‘Books by Pearl’ at http://www.facebook.com/allisonnicolepearl/ or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonPearl5 andInstagram at @allisonnicolepearl