Title: Fatal Recall
Author: Gini Rifkin
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Thriller
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Hudson Kincaid prefers the wide-open spaces. But tracking down a serial killer means hanging out in Denver as he investigates neuroscientist Dr. Marilyn Monrose. So far, he can’t figure out if she’s city kitty in high heels, or a country kitten in cowgirl boots?
Marilyn’s experiments using ramped up virtual reality, captures the final moments of each murder victim’s life, a chilling discovery she’s trying to keep secret. The last thing she needs is a determined private detective barging into her lab—no matter how sexy he looks in his Stetson hat.
When word of her research is leaked to the press, Marilyn becomes the killer’s next target. Now the woman Hudson races to save, is the one who has stolen his heart.
As he studied the room, she studied him.
Ruggedly handsome, his sensuous mouth softened the strong cut of his jaw, and the beginnings of a five o’clock shadow highlighted his cheekbones. Midnight brown hair curled down over his collar, a bit too long, and a bit too intriguing.
“What exactly are you working on in here?”
Following one of her VR sessions, the room always seemed in disarray. Had he noticed the pieces of her equipment scattered across the room, or her notes, now an untidy heap on the floor beside her chair. “My theory is rather hard to explain, and right now I’m not at liberty to divulge the details of my project.”
“Can’t or won’t?”
“Both.” Chin up, she squared her shoulders and crossed her arms over her chest. When faced with an obstinate male, she took what she considered her Wonder Woman pose. She wasn’t about to budge on this and wouldn’t be intimidated. Gender equality had been slow in reaching the scientific community, and she’d been crossing swords with males and their attitudes since day one. He wouldn’t win.
As if in frustration, PI Kincaid ran his left hand through his hair. Clean yet far from manicured, his hands appeared strong and accustomed to work not found behind a desk. He wasn’t wearing a wedding band.
As they stood sizing up one another, her gaze slid lower. His white dress shirt was open at the neck, his tie hanging loose and a bit askew as if he’d already had a long day. Straight-legged dark trousers covered the tops of the cowboy boots he wore, and she’d bet there was a Stetson on the front seat of his car—or more likely his truck, parked in the lot.
A haunting weariness overtook his demeanor before he turned and strode toward the door. Did he also have visions he’d like to erase? “Thank you for your time, Dr. Monrose.”
Was that all he wanted? Wasn’t he going to ask her anything else? She should be glad he was leaving, yet disappointment riffled through her, which made no sense at all. “Wait.”
He halted and pivoted to face her, expectation now enlivening his appearance.
“I…I have to key in the code before you can open the door.” She hurried across the room.
He stepped to one side yet remained near, and the closeness of his body gave her a little thrill. He smelled clean and earthy. Oh man, bayberry soap. An image skipped through her mind of him
soaking in a clawfoot tub, the room drenched in the soft glow of a kerosene lamp. With a shake of her head, the daydream dissolved away, and she keyed in the security numbers. Her experiments were overloading her brain cells again.
The code box clicked, and the green light went on. Standing at her back, he reached around her. They both grabbed for the door handle at the same time and, hands overlapping, they pulled the door open in unison. With one arm, he continued encircling her from behind, and a streak of sensuous pleasure blazed a path from her belly to the crotch of her new Victoria Secret panties.
Oh, for Heaven’s sake. She was a well-educated, thirty-year-old woman. She shouldn’t act all gangly and intimidated because a handsome cowboy private investigator captivated her with a pensive gaze in those gorgeous green eyes—sad, sincere eyes.
“Thanks again.” He slipped around her and ambled out the door and down the hallway. The image projected by his tall, broad-shouldered form left her feeling fine-boned, almost dainty—a sensation she hadn’t experienced since before the seventh grade, the year she’d shot up four inches in height and towered over all the boys in her class.
When he disappeared around a corner, she exhaled long and slowly, ordering her senses to simmer down.
With the security door closed and the red light on, she felt less vulnerable as she retreated back into the lab. The trauma and suffering she’d witnessed during the VR experiment seemed to hang in the air, awaiting the return of her undivided attention.
Hands gripping the metal countertop, she held on tight as the immensity of what she’d achieved, and what she’d seen, flooded back in full force. Then hot fear of another kind replaced all other sensations.
Right there, inches away and in plain sight, sat a rolled-up EEG strip and a manila envelope labeled Becky Chapman. The detective must have seen the printout, yet he hadn’t challenged her to hand it over. Did he have the authority to come back with a warrant. Would he share his findings with the Denver PD?
Panic sent her into action. Her experiments related to the murder victims were no longer a secret. She’d better take all her files and computer flash drives home tonight and do whatever necessary to keep this information safe. She couldn’t trust anyone—not the police, this private detective, or her boss.
Becky Chapman, the latest victim, had been killed two days ago…that poor young woman. The fatal recollections Marilyn had viewed returned with a vengeance, bombarding her mentally and physically.
She stumbled over to the recliner chair and collapsed on the seat, the only soft item in her steel and glass sterile laboratory space. Covering her face with her hands, unstoppable tears began to flow. Against all odds, miraculous and terrifying, she had felt Becky die.
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Where the past and the present meet adventure and romance.
Gini Rifkin’s characters are courageous and passionate, and when they meet, sparks fly while danger often threatens. Her settings include the American West, Medieval and Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy and thrillers. When not writing, she has the privilege of caring for her rescue animals including ducks, geese, goats, rabbits, donkeys, and cats. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts.
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Amazon Author https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002QRS66U