Midnight Dance

A Seattle Sound Series Romantic Suspense Spin-off

All secrets come with a price in this page-turning romantic suspense by USA Today Bestselling Author, Alexa Padgett.

Someone will stop at nothing to silence her…

Ethical hacker Tawny Reed chose the FBI over a possible criminal record….and gave up any semblance of a life to meet her handler’s stringent demands. But getting stabbed in the line of duty wasn’t part of the plan: she deals in code and algorithms, not the blood and violence that cost her father his life.

Biology professor Colt Rippey rushes to save an injured woman on the side of the road. That white-knight act tumbles him into Tawny’s world of power built on lies–and people’s lives. When Tawny reveals she has nowhere to go, Colt suggests they hide in his cabin deep on the Olympic Peninsula. There, he hopes to save Tawny and even give his life some meaning.

Danger stalks Tawny and Colt, making it difficult to know who they can trust. The sanctuary Tawny finds in Colt’s arms and bed is temporary. Isolated in a remote cabin, hunted by figures who want to silence her, Tawny must outpace and outmaneuver the men who destroyed her life years before. The hunt is on…will Tawny’s timebomb explode while Colt risks his life and future to keep Tawny safe?

**Disclaimer: The following material is copyrighted and subject to change.**

Chapter 4

Colt

Sunday

“Kara’s engaged? That can’t be right,” I said. “She told me last night that her live-in boyfriend dumped her.”

“That’s what her social media says—engaged. Wait. Wow, that was quick. Married.”

“What the actual… You know what? I don’t care.”

Except her words, the desperate look in her eye, rankled. Why would she come to me last night?

To make her boyfriend, Hugh or Harry or whatever it is, jealous. Dammit. She’d used me again. Apparently, to get engaged. 

That hurt. Again. Even more evidence I needed to get off this Kara-train and focus my life. 

Instead of waiting for opportunities to come to me, I needed to search them out. I’d considered heading out to my family’s cabin last night. There wouldn’t be a better time than now. 

I pulled out a suitcase and slammed it on the bed. Some of the residual anger and shame from my encounter with Kara seeped into my motions as I threw clothes in willy-nilly, much against my normal fastidious manner. Underwear, socks, sweatpants, jeans, T-shirts, and a couple of sweatshirts. Oh, and a coat. The water by the cabin always made the temperature feel cooler. I grabbed my favorite down jacket, a beanie, and some gloves and shoved them in the top of the bag along with a pair of sneakers and my hiking boots.

There. I could spend a week or more out at the cabin and think through my goals and where I wanted my life to go.

First order of business: time to start living my life. I’d chill for a few days while I came up with my perfect-woman list. 

I hauled the bag down to my car. 

***

I glared at the setting sun about an hour later, which had the audacity to settle right into my still-hungover-as-hell eyeballs. 

“Fuck,” I moaned. “Stupid bright star. My head is never going to be the same.”

It had been hours since I heard the news. I should be feeling better by now. But I wasn’t, and I refused to consider my physical lamentations had anything to do with Kara’s engagement. 

So what if she’d tried to wheedle back into my good graces? So what if she’d lied—tried to manipulate me to her will again?

We’d broken up ages ago. She’d moved on. I had, too, and I’d proven that last night.

Now, I needed to consider this job in Laramie. Cassidy was in remission. My parents…well, I wasn’t sure what they were, but it wasn’t as if I’d be able to fix their relationship, no matter how much I wanted to. 

And Clay was married to his soul mate. He was settled, happy. 

He had everything I’d ever wanted, and he’d thumbed his nose at…at least until he met Abbi. 

Not his fault that he found love first. Maybe it wasn’t in the cards for me. Much as I hated to consider that option, I feared I’d end up as that weird, forgetful professor that students whispered about. I pondered this possibility, not liking that future.

Maybe what I really needed was to shake up my situation. 

That’s when I saw the body on the edge of the highway.

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