Title: A Kiss at Sunset
Author: Judy Kentrus
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Cameron MacGregor’s lifelong dream was to become a US park ranger. In school, she’d earned the nickname Paula Bunyan. She knew more about the ecosystem of the forest than her teachers. Raised by her grandfather from the time she was nine years old, she’d come to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature in the Alleghany Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Only one boy looked beyond the un-female personage and saw the warm hearted, sweet girl she kept hidden from her classmates. Now, after twenty years, he’s come back home to Laurel Heights. She’s well trained and devoted her life to the job she loves, but is hesitant to act on the feelings she’s harbored for Treig Taylor since high school. Could she risk him finding out about the secrets and guilt she’s harbored all these years? Treig John Taylor hadn’t a clue what it was like to live a “normal” life. For the past eighteen years, he’s worked undercover, associating with the slime of the earth. Darkness had grown inside him and he didn’t know how to stop it from festering.
His best friend and boss brings TJ in to save himself and offers Treig a job as head of security for the Laurel Heights Inn. He’s reluctant at first but accepts the position for six months. There’s more to the “temp” job than he anticipated, including getting reacquainted with US Park Ranger Cameron MacGregor.
The woman was heart-stopping beautiful, but a whole different class. Inside he was tainted and not worthy of her. He hadn’t associated with a nice woman who wasn’t part of an assignment, in a long time. Could he climb out of the darkness and turn his life around?
No matter what TJ does to try and live a normal life, someone from his past comes back, seeking revenge in a way he never saw coming.
TJ just made the turn onto Route 666 when a deer, blinded by Lucille’s bright beams, darted onto the road. He didn’t have time to downshift to slow the car. The muscles in his leg tightened when he jammed his foot against the brake pedal. A boulder on the side of the road saved him from going into a nearby ditch.
“Damn deer!” Taking deep breaths, he looked around to get his bearings. Pitch-dark woods and icy blacktop. Perfect! Wetness ran down his temple, and he caught a drip with his finger. He’d thought it was nervous sweat, but it was blood.
Suddenly, flashing red lights brightened the area, and he hung his aching head. “Just my luck to be discovered by a forest ranger. Ah, shit!”
Cameron called Dispatch with an approximate location, but with the vast amount of dead zones in the park, she hoped they got her message. “Let’s find out who is crazy enough to be driving around in this nasty weather.”
She anchored her hair under her regulation Stetson hat and reached for her dark green winter field jacket that was on the passenger seat, though she didn’t close it over her bulletproof vest.
Instinctively, her hand rested on the grip of her SIG Sauer high on her hip as she approached the vehicle on the driver’s side. The driver lowered the window, and she was greeted by a scruffy-looking guy sporting a cocky grin.
“Hi, darlin’.” His eyes zeroed in on the hand she had on her weapon, and he quickly turned in her direction. “I didn’t know forest rangers came heavily armed and so lovely.”
I’m not a forest ranger, you sexist—
She cut the thought off. Act professional and ignore his flirty greeting. The dried blood on his face drew her attention, and she caught the odor of alcohol on his breath.
“Sir, are you all right? Do you need medical assistance?”
“Nah,” he said, displaying a shit-eating grin. “Me and a deer had a slight altercation, and I banged my head on the window when the car swerved on the black ice.”
“I stopped because your rear passenger taillight is out.”
“Beautiful and observant.” He wiggled his eyebrows. “Despite the unflattering color, I love a woman uniform.”
He was amusing. She’d give him that and bit back a smile. “Have you been drinking?”
“My mother always told me to tell the truth. Had me a beer at Gus’s Tavern.”
She scanned the backseat of the car with her flashlight, looking for open or unopened containers of alcohol. It was spotless so maybe he was telling the truth. “License and registration, please.”
“Do we really have to do this, darlin’? I’ve got a blasted headache.”
Once again, she ignored his disrespect. “License and registration.”
“If you insist.” His heavy sigh followed her request.
His hands were steady when he removed his wallet from the back pocket of his jeans, and he didn’t fumble removing the license.
She studied the picture on the license that had expired last week. It was the driver, complete with the beard and long hair. Cameron read the name and blinked before she read his name again. Forrest Raine. That had to be a joke. Forrest!
Cop instinct screamed something was off. Forrest wouldn’t be laughing when she got through with him. “Mr. Raine, your license has expired and the vehicle isn’t registered in your name. I’ll be right back.”
She quickly typed in his name and driver’s license number in the computer in her vehicle. Her answer came back a minute later. PaCIC nor NCIC had a record for a driver with that name.
No Forrest Raine. “Who is this guy?”
“Raine! Son of a bitch!” The side of Treig’s hand smarted when he pounded a fist on the steering wheel. Since returning home from his last assignment, he hadn’t changed his driver’s license. The phony name came with a lot of dirty baggage, so he was in a shitload of trouble. The past few years, he’d managed not to get thrown into a South American prison, but a busted taillight might get him arrested in Pennsylvania. He felt like an ass, having slipped, so easily, into the role he played when he was undercover.
He reached for his cell phone and punched in his boss’s number. Three rings later, a sleepy but stern voice answered. “You better be dead.”
“You better work your magic. My expired license, the one I use undercover, is currently being run by a ranger. I forgot to put my real one in my wallet. Tell me you have a block on anyone running Forrest Raine.”
A slight chuckle filled his ear.
“Not funny, boss,” TJ said. “Your very efficient administrative assistant had to be out of her mind when she came up with that stupid name!”
“She has a thing for Forrest Gump. The name doesn’t exist unless the ranger is able to access Adams Security’s and the FBI’s databases. Why did you get pulled over? I believe I warned you not to get arrested.”
“I hit black ice and skidded. Busted a taillight on Lucille when the back end hit a boulder. Ranger showed up to offer help.”
“Did you get his name?”
“No, but she’s lovely, with big green eyes. The registration is in your name. Suppose I get arrested for driving with a phony, expired license.”
“The rangers are not hard-asses. Tell her there’s been a misunderstanding and to call my office tomorrow morning. Ask to speak directly to me, and I’ll verify who you are.”
“But this is serious shit!”
“Jeez. You don’t break a sweat infiltrating killer gangs and drug runners, but you’re acting like you’re facing a firing squad. Oh, nice name for your car. If you get arrested, call me.”
The phone went dead.
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If money were no object and we weren’t in a pandemic, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
I would like to drive US 1, in the Florida Keys. I’ve always wanted to visit the most Southern tip of the US.
Why is your featured book a must-read this spring?
It’s time to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature since the storyline takes place in the Alleghany National Forest, in Pennsylvania
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Runs April 1 – 30, 2021.
Drawing will be held on May 3, 2021.
Judy Kentrus, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Seasoned Romance,
I’ve always been a romantic at heart and married my high school sweetheart. I make my home in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. After raising our two children, I followed my dream to publish my books. I love to travel and include some of the places I’ve visited in my books. When I’m not at my computer giving couples their happily-ever-after, you can find me in the kitchen, baking, especially cookies. I’ve been dubbed the cookie queen by my family and friends. My stories are fun, sexy, romances that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love.
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