as Dina Griffin let her gaze rove over the rows of shampoo bottles lining the
shelf. Lemon yellow, bright purple, jarring chartreuse, the plastic containers
came in a rainbow of colors, each competing to catch the eye of shoppers. There
were products that guaranteed help for damaged split ends; others promising
shine and curl; and still others offering to clarify, volumize, or medicate.
The abundance of choices astonished her. And to think, all she’d ever expected
from her shampoo was clean hair. It wasn’t as if she’d never been shopping, but
her busy life usually had her running in, snapping up her tried-and-true
bargain brand, and going on her way. Studying the bottles closer, she read
phrases like moisture milk, herbal escapes, essential
oils,vitamin-laced, and tea therapy.
mind-boggling, kaleidoscopic variety. Then came the specialty shampoos for
dandruff and hair loss and itchy, scaly scalp conditions. And nits.
great interest in the items on display.
her way around the shelving unit, the electronic doors at the front of the
store slid open, drawing her attention.
voltage jolt. Perspiration broke out on the back of her neck and her heart
began to thud. She turned her head away, dipping both her chin and her gaze as
she sunk back as far as possible into her wide-brimmed hood. Mustering a calm
nonchalance she certainly did not feel, she skirted the tall, end cap display
of hard pretzels and slipped into the neighboring aisle. She stopped halfway
down and perused the first-aid section with enough focus to lead anyone who
might notice her to think her life depended on finding the perfect band-aid.
she’d run from the police in Baltimore. He couldn’t.
sensed someone approaching. As the person got closer, she could feel the mass
of him. It was the cop. Had to be. And the man must be built as solid as a
bending at the waist and grasping the first package within reach. Tweezers, she
realized. Silver. Pointy-tipped.
container. However, when she pulled her hand back, her coat sleeve caught the
edge of several packages and tweezers went tumbling like inept circus acrobats.
Dina scrambled, snatching them up, and hurrying to re-hang them on the metal
and drew in a breath in an effort to calm her anxiety. And that’s when she
of a pair of pointy-tipped tweezers? Maybe he’d cut himself shaving and needed
one of those small circular band-aids. That would be her luck, all right. A
splinter-laden, razor-nicked cop in need of first-aid supplies, and she just
happened to be standing right in front of the display.
little. Although the day was sunny and the outside temperatures on the mild
side this morning, it was still winter, and the damp concrete she’d slept on
had left her chilled to the bone. Her hips had been aching and her feet had
felt like brittle bricks of ice when she’d arrived, and she’d just wanted to
limber up, work the cold out of her joints and toes in a heated environment.
gone as dry as course sand. She was not going back to
Baltimore. Not until she absolutely had to. What compelled her next action, she
had no idea—fear, panic, sheer survival instinct—but she spun on her heel and
glared into his face.
rights. I’m staying right here, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about
lips flattened, and he seemed to grow three inches when he squared his
shoulders and straightened his spine.
free country. And you do have rights. Just so long as you don’t take things
that don’t belong to you.” He pinched the sleeve of her coat between his
fingers. “So put back whatever it is you’ve stolen, and come up to the front
counter with me. We need to have a chat with the manager.”
“Being uncooperative is only going to make matters worse for you. Your parents
are already going to be upset when I call them. It’s bad enough you’re cutting
school. Shoplifting is a serious offence.”
felt herself being propelled toward the front of the store. There must have
been only an inch of her coat fabric in his grip, but it was enough to force
her to toddle along beside his long-legged stride like a twelve-year-old.
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR DONNA FASANO is a three-time winner of the HOLT Medallion, a CataRomance Reviewers Choice Award winner for Best Single Title, a Desert Rose Golden Quill Award finalist, a Golden Heart finalist, and a two-time winner of Best Romance of the Year given by BigAl’s Books & Pals Review Blog. Her books have sold 4 million copies worldwide and have been published in two dozen languages. Her novels have made the Kindle Top 100 Paid List numerous times, climbing as high as #5.
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What others are saying about Donna’s books:
“…complex, funny, and realistic…” ~Wilmington News Journal
“Could not help myself from reading excerpts to my husband and friends. This book is well written, the characters are real, everyday folks. It is very easy to identify with them. Donna Fasano is a talented author.” ~Elizabeth M. Caldwell on Amazon
“…a fast paced riotous look at family life today. Donna Fasano is right on target!” ~Donna Zapf, SingleTitles.com