Release date: 10 March 2014
Adam Blake, ex-CIA operative, has gone to great lengths to keep his identity a secret from his maternal grandfather, who controls the most brutal crime syndicate in Eastern Europe. The moment he lets his guard down, the unthinkable happens and his best friend, the mother of his child, is tortured and murdered. To protect his daughter, he must seek the help of his father’s family—who has no idea of his existence. What Adam could have never foreseen is the unusual attachment between his daughter and her most unlikely protector.
After months of living in an emotional vacuum after her roommate’s murder, Calista Martin takes a chance and befriends a handsome regular at the diner. What is supposed to be just a ride home hurls her headlong into Adam’s world of murder and revenge. To add to an already explosive situation, Adam’s traumatized little girl refuses to release her hold on Calista. Knowing what it’s like to lose a loved one, Calista insists on staying with Adam to protect Anna.
After Calista risks her life to protect Anna, Adam begins to see the waitress from the diner in a different light. But the Vasnev threat is heating up and Calista, while willing to help him, really doesn’t trust him. Can he find a way to eliminate his enemies to become the father Anna deserves and the man Calista needs—or will he fail again, taking his future out of his hands forever?
by Nancy C. Weeks
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Nancy C. Weeks lives in suburban Maryland with her husband of more than thirty years. With her two grown children out of the nest, she spends her days on her deck writing as the local bird population keeps her company. Find Nancy at http://nancycweeks.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
An excerpt from In the Shadow of Malice:
Almost midnight, an empty parking lot, no prying eyes.
Adam Blake hit the key fob, locking his sedan as he stepped out of the shadows. His senses picked up a hint of the wild honeysuckle that grew along the chain-linked fence lining the west side of Pete’s Diner. As a warm May breeze washed over him, he rolled the tension from his shoulders and scanned the perimeter. Nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
Quite frankly, the reason he kept coming back surprised the hell out of him. Even though the food was great, Adam craved the company the small diner provided. The regulars were all so damn normal. Adam needed normal.
His life had become a reflection of what he did for a living and he needed a drastic change. Pete’s Diner had become a baby step in that direction. The occasional hour spent with familiar strangers chased away his lonely, harsh existence.
From his position, he could identify the two people who remained in the deserted restaurant. The wizened old trucker was there on his weekly run from Norfolk, Virginia, to New Haven, Connecticut. The young woman sitting alone in one of the booths was the owner’s granddaughter. From what Adam could surmise, Calista Martin had no life outside the diner other than her music studies at the university a few miles down the road. The ever-present cello case propped on the bench next to her kept her company.
The double doors behind the counter opened and a big man in a navy blue double-breasted chef’s coat and sculled cap set a large silverware caddy on the counter. Pete Bradshaw was built like a guerrilla on steroids. Strands of blond-gray hair escaped the edges of his cap and gray stubble covered his chin. But what stood out most was the enormous fried egg skull tattoo on his left arm, the yellow yolk resting right in the center of the left eye socket.
Calista approached Pete as he poured coffee into a travel mug. The hard angles of his face softened when he glanced at her. He replaced the carafe back on the heating unit and a grin spread across his face. A bellowed cheer loud enough to rattle the windows followed as he lifted her into his arms and swung her around like she was a little girl. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and gave him a quick hug before turning to the trucker and hugging him as well.
The celebratory moment could only mean one thing: Calista Martin posted her final assignment for her master’s degree in music performance and secondary education. The bright smile on her face sent an unusual feeling of warmth into the pit of Adam’s stomach. For reasons he was too tired to define, a sense of pride for her accomplishments raced through him. He recognized the strength and dedication it took for Calista to follow her dream. Adam had no dreams other than to protect those he loved and to stay alive one more day.
Her beaming smile pulled at Adam like a magnet, forcing his feet to step closer to the entrance. Removing her arms from around the older man’s shoulder, she paused and turned toward the window. Their eyes held before she raised her hand and motioned for him to come inside. She moved toward the door and held it open for him.