ONE LAST BREATH
THE BORDERLINE series, Book 1
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Booksellers Best Award Winner!
He's an ex-cop. She's an ex-wife.
And they're both out for revenge on the same man....
When pampered former cheerleader Feenie Malone takes a job
writing fluff pieces for her South Texas paper, she has no
idea she's about to stumble into a juicy news story that could
launch her career -- if it doesn't get her killed first. Almost
as soon as she breaks out her press pass, she crosses paths
with Marco Juarez, the macho PI obsessed with solving his
sister's murder. The information he has might be the perfect
lead -- but his dangerously sexy looks could be a deadly distraction.
Juarez has zero patience for reporters, especially mouthy
blond ones. But with the evidence pointing to Feenie's ex-husband,
Marco thinks she could be useful. Confident he can keep her
on a tight leash, he lets her in on his investigation. He
quickly discovers he's underestimated his new partner, as
well as the danger they both face. Now he must protect her
-- to the very last breath....
"Laura Griffin hits all the right notes with One
Last Breath - compelling characters, unexpected twists
and a gripping story from the first gasp to the last sigh."
—Bestselling romantic suspense
author Roxanne St. Claire
“Laura Griffin has the voice of a seasoned veteran
in this tasty debut which mixes suspense and snappy humor
with wonderful results. Don’t miss one of the best debuts
of the year!”
—Affaire de Coeur
“Griffin kicks off her romantic suspense career in
high style with this action-packed tale filled with passion
and revenge. She's one to watch.”
“There is a new romantic suspense author in town. Laura
Griffin’s debut novel, One Last Breath, is
a strong blend of suspense and romance. The intelligent writing
is full of promise. If this first book is any indication,
we should see some good things from this author.”
—All About Romance
“One Last Breath rocks!”
—Winter Haven News Chief
“Griffin's fully fleshed characters, dry humor
and tight plotting make a fun read and a promising career
“A winner of a debut; fast-paced romantic suspense
with lots of surprises!”
Officer Marco Juarez hated domestics.
It was always the same shit: drunk man slaps woman around. Woman
calls the cops, hysterical. Cops hightail it over and find everybody’s
kissed and made up, even though the woman has a shiner and a bloody
lip. No matter what you said, the victim always resisted filing
Maybe this call would have a different outcome.
So far, it was different by virtue of the fact that it had come
from a rich neighborhood. Juarez turned onto Pecan Street and drove
past the tidy row of restored bungalows. He rolled to a stop in
front of a yellow and white two-story where a crowd had gathered
in the driveway. He turned to his rookie partner.
“Follow my lead.”
Peterson nodded eagerly and checked his weapon.
Juarez raised his eyebrows. “Why don’t
you start by talking to bystanders, see if we can get a feel for
“Got it,” Peterson said.
Juarez slammed the door of the cruiser and walked
up the driveway. Most everyone looked like your typical nosey neighbors.
A white-haired man in aqua Bermuda shorts stood off to the side
with his arms crossed. He scowled as Juarez approached him.
“’Bout time y’all got here. Gal’s
been at it twenty minutes now. She’s hot as a firecracker.”
Juarez looked up the driveway and spotted the “gal”
in question. She had a head full of blond curls and wore one of
those short, pleated skirts that barely covered her rear end. She
was loading what looked to be a .22.
A deranged cheerleader?
With fluid ease, she tucked the slender rifle against
her shoulder, aimed at something on the back fence, and fired. A
shiny object burst into smithereens. A beer bottle? No. Several
more objects were lined up on the fence posts.
Juarez glanced around. Suits and ties were strewn
about the driveway. He eyed the upstairs windowsill where a pair
of boxer shorts had hit a snag on the way down. They fluttered like
a battle flag in the evening breeze.
Former cheerleader, deranged wife,
“What’s she shooting?” he asked
“Dunno. Think it’s a vase or somethin’.”
“It’s a trophy,” a woman put
in. She was blond, thirtyish, and looked like she’d just come
off a tennis court. “Last year’s Club championship.”
“You know this woman?” he asked her.
“She’s my best friend.”
The woman snorted. “Nope. Just pissed.”
Juarez waited for more.
“She just found out what a prick she married,”
the woman said, as if that explained everything.
“Her husband inside?” Juarez touched
his sidearm, and the woman frowned.
“You don’t need that, for heaven’s sake!
No one’s inside. Only thing in danger ’round here’s
Procedure called for him to draw his weapon anyway
and disarm the subject, but Juarez wasn’t much on rules and
regulations, especially when they went against his gut instincts.
And his gut instincts at the moment told him the
friend was right--this woman was armed, but she wasn’t dangerous.
Not yet, at least.
The wife re-loaded, and Juarez watched. She was
pretty, actually. Graceful. She knew how to handle a gun, too, and
for some reason the combination made his pulse pick up.
he said, walking toward her. “I’m gonna have to ask
you to put the gun down.”
Instead of complying, she turned and glared at
him. Her cheeks were flushed pink, and blond ringlets fell over
her eyes. He put her at late-twenties, five-five, a hundred-and-thirty
pounds. He couldn’t help noticing a very nice share of the
weight was concentrated up top.
She turned back around, aimed the gun toward the
fence, and fired, this time taking out a little brass statue. She
was a hell of a shot.
“Ma’am.” Juarez stepped closer
and clamped a hand on the barrel.
“What?” she demanded.
“Put the gun down.”
She huffed out a breath and laid the gun on the
pavement. Then she crossed her arms over her chest and gave him
a venomous look.
“Mind telling me what’s going on here,
If possible, her cheeks flushed even more. “Target
practice. Why? Is there a law against shooting golf trophies?”
He repressed a smile. “No, but there’s
a law against firing a weapon within city limits.”
“That’s a utility easement back there,
so I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“What’s your name, ma’am?”
She started to speak, then bit her lip. “Feenie.
“Okay, Mrs. Malone--”
Peterson appeared and retrieved the gun from the
“Okay, Ms. Malone,” Juarez said. “Let’s
cool off for a minute, all right? Now, my partner here is going
to hold onto your gun while we go inside and talk.”
She looked him over then, her blue eyes simmering.
Her neighbor had been right about the firecracker thing. This woman
was hot, in more ways than one, and she had a defiant streak that
“Look, Ms. Malone.” He leaned in and
lowered his voice. Several curious neighbors inched closer. “Whatever
you’re doing here, I’m sure he deserves it. But you’re
causing a disturbance, and I’d hate to have to haul you off
to jail. There’re kids watching.”
She glanced at the crowd behind her and bit her
lip again. She seemed to calm down fractionally, and some of the
color faded from her cheeks. “Okay, Officer…?”
“Okay, Officer Juarez.”
“Why don’t we go inside now?”
He surveyed the debris on the driveway. “Keep any other guns
in the house?”
tossed a look over her shoulder as she led him to the back door.
“Sure. My husband collects them. The .22 is mine.”
“Where does your husband store his guns,
She opened the screen door and ushered him inside.
“In the safe, usually, but right now they’re at the
bottom of the swimming pool.”
Juarez stopped short. “The swimming pool?”
“That’s right. With his clubs and his
flat-screen TV.” She smiled sweetly. “I’m feeling
much better now, Officer Juarez. Can I fix you some lemonade?”