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An Ill Wind (Security Specialists International #5)

By:Monette Michaels

An Ill Wind (Security Specialists International #5)
Author: Monette Michaels





Acknowledgments

Thanks to Elizabeth Neal for sharing her ideas for a perfect hero – Sheriff Levi Gray Wolf is the result.

Thanks to my beta-readers: Debbie Kline, Valerie Samouillan, Teresa Wilson, and Gail Northman. Some of them even read it more than once as I fine-tuned the plot. Love these gals.

Thanks to my critique partner Cherise Sinclair for always being there with constructive comments and for listening to me whine when I get to the "hate my book" stage.

Thanks to my long-time final line editor Ezra Solomon for taking the time from being a busy grad student to take a pass at this book. His objective set of eyes is always welcome.

Thanks to my trusty formatter gal Gail Northman who makes it possible for me to be an indie author.

Finally, thanks to my fans. I wouldn't be doing this without you.

But it's an ill wind blaws naebody gude. – Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy

PROLOGUE

February 20th, 11 p.m.

Stanley Parker Health Center

Columbus, New Mexico

Dr. Fiona Teague's stomach growled. Six-year-old Maria Cortez giggled, the first sound from her that wasn't a whimper or a mewl of pain since the child's arrival at the emergency room. Fee swept a lock of black silky hair off Maria's face. The girl had an ugly bruise on her forehead. Maria's brother had shoved the little girl and she'd fallen off her front porch and-head met sidewalk.

"Are you feeling better, chica?"

The x-rays hadn't shown any fracture, thank goodness. Fee had cleaned the bloody scrape, administered a prescription-strength dose of Tylenol, and applied ice to get the swelling down. There really wasn't anything else she could do.

Maria shrugged, her big brown eyes still moist from earlier tears.

Fee looked at Maria's mother. "Señora, just keep an eye on Maria. Wake her up every hour just to make sure she can. If you can't rouse her, or if she throws up or complains of severe headaches, bring her back in right away. I'm going to have Nurse Pia schedule a follow-up visit for Maria at the clinic on Monday."

"Gracias, Dr. Teague." Señora Cortez picked up Maria who clung like a monkey to her mother. The woman left the exam area. The now-chastised older brother fell into step with his mother. The father was missing in action. Pia Lopez had told her the man was a drug runner for the Sinaloa cartel.

It was don't ask, don't tell-business as usual in this ER in a U.S.-Mexico border community.

Pia walked up to Fee. "Well, that was different." The petite nurse was a Mexican-American who'd lived in Columbus, New Mexico, her whole life except for the time she'd left to attend nursing school in Austin, Texas. She was one of the best nurses Fee had ever worked with anywhere.

"Well, it definitely was a break from treating addicts who've decided to mix heroin and crystal meth." Drug overdoses or, in the case of speedballing, drug stupidity was a lot of what Fee dealt with during her shifts, day or night. The rest of her cases tended to be knifings and gunshot wounds that arose out of the running and selling of drugs.

Fee's stomach growled again. "I need to eat. Want to grab a bite with me? I brought a couple of sandwiches and am happy to share."

Pia shook her head, a sly smile on her face. "I've eaten, thanks. Besides, someone is here and has brought you some of my mamá's chicken enchiladas you like so well."

Carmela Lopez owned and was the chief cook for a local diner called Mamacitas. Fee ate or carried out a lot of her meals from there.

Fee smiled. "Your mother is so sweet to think of me. What did she bring you?"

"Not my mamá." Pia shoved her in the direction of the small break room. "Go see."

Her surprise meal guest had to be Price. Her brother had mentioned something about visiting this week. It would be just like him to get Pia's mother to make Fee's favorite Mexican meal.

Would Trey Maddox be with him? Fee's pulse raced and a tingle of excitement traveled over her skin. She would never admit it out loud, but when Trey hadn't come the last time Price visited, she'd missed him. Missed him a lot-more than a lot-and that had shocked her. She still wasn't sure she was ready for the type of relationship Trey wanted with her. A relationship he'd patiently pursued for months, making the trip from Idaho frequently, most often in the company of her brother.

Fee entered the break room and stopped just inside the door.

Her heart stuttered as she took in all that was Trey Maddox. The man was six-foot, four inches of alpha-male with thick, dark hair and green eyes. Those eyes now gleamed as he approached her in a panther-like glide. "Hey, little doc."

Only Trey called her that. She'd grown to like his pet name for her, mostly because of the affectionate tone in his voice when he said it. No one before him had ever cared enough to use an endearment when speaking to her.

"You look beautiful." His languid perusal burned over every inch of her. His expression grew more sensual.

Trey needed his eyes examined. She had on no make-up and a set of green scrubs that had blood and other bodily fluids that would put most people off their food. But the look in his eyes had her believing his words. To him, she was beautiful and that fact both confused her and made her grateful.

"Trey … " Flustered at his all-encompassing gaze, Fee looked around. " … um, where's my brother?"

"He's on an op … " he said.

Trey stopped less than a foot away from her. His gaze seemed fixed on her mouth. Her breath caught in her throat and she wondered if he'd kiss her.

Kiss him. You know you want to.

No, she couldn't. She was a woman who'd had really bad luck with the men in her past.

Trey's not those other guys, and, for sure, he isn't the stalker

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