Title: Frozen Hearts
Author: Judy Kentrus
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
How do you open your heart for a new love when it’s frozen? That’s the dilemma Margaret Taylor has faced since losing her beloved husband. Demands as a Judge and the Mayor of Laurel Heights has left very little time for being just Margaret. She signs up with a tour group to take the dream vacation she and her husband planned to go on, a land and sea tour of Alaska.
Over the year’s she’s received threats and has recognized them as all part of the job. When she receives three life-threatening notes, her family urges her to cancel her vacation. She refuses.
Her much needed vacation takes an unexpected turn when she recognizes one of the other people in the tour group. Why is Brent Saeger walking around free? He was sentenced to life in prison for murder. Brent Saeger believes that life was guided by fate and one should never do a “favor” because it came with unexpected consequences. His favor for the CIA landed him in prison for murder. Fate had another undercover operative in the right time and place that proved Brent’s innocence.
Working for Adams Security and Investigations, he gets a special assignment. He’s to go undercover and protect the owner’s mother-in-law, Margaret Taylor. She’d be more receptive to meeting an old friend. He can’t tell her his real purpose for being there.
Fate once again sucker punched him. Protect his Maggie May. That shouldn’t be a problem since his heart has been frozen since she fell in love with his best friend.
A romantic suspense with twists and turns that will keep you turning pages to the very end.
After a very brief nap, Margaret tried to shake off the feeling of jet lag. It was time to meet the people in the group she’d be spending the next two weeks with. Most of the tables in the banquet room were taken but she spied an open chair at a table that fronted a wall of windows. Beyond were snow-covered peaks and the Cook Inlet. Before sitting down, she helped herself to a cup of coffee and a few cookies. Now it was time to start socializing.
She gave the men and women a little smile before making herself comfortable. From their accents, two couples were from the southern part of the US. She took their ages to be in their late fifties or early sixties. She introduced herself.
“Hi, I’m Margaret from Pennsylvania.”
“So nice to meet you, Margaret. I’m Dawn Judd, and this is my sister Myrtle. This is our dream vacation.
The two couples didn’t introduce themselves, but gave Margaret polite smiles.
“Everyone, can I have your attention?”
Margaret shifted in her chair so she could see their tour director.
“I’m Carol Timmins, your tour guide for the next two weeks. I’ve been doing this job for eleven years, and Alaska is one of my favorite places. Before we go any further, I’d like each of you to stand up, tell us your name, where you’re from and a little about yourself. Let’s start with the table to my left.”
Brent shifted in his chair and listened to the conversation between the brother and sister sitting to the left of him. They were financial planners from Miami. Across the table were two semiretired couples. From their accents, he took them to be from the Midwest. Everyone he’d met so far gave off the “I’m on vacation” vibe, but the trip was just starting. He needed to stay on high alert. Anyone of these people could be a threat to Margaret’s well-being.
Because of his dark glasses and baseball cap, he knew Margaret hadn’t noticed him on the plane or the bus ride to the hotel. When she’d had to wait in the long line to get her hotel key, she’d appeared annoyed. Or maybe she was just tired.
As soon as he’d gotten to his room on the tenth floor, he’d taken a quick shower and called his boss to let him know they’d arrived and all was quiet. If Brent got an itch about any of the other guests, he’d send a text requesting further info.
As each person introduced themselves, he recognized their names, confirming their identities from the list Lincoln had provided. They’d just finished with table one and started on the second table where he was sitting. He was apprehensive of Margaret’s reaction to his presence, but there was no turning back.
He was still trying to adjust to the fact that he’d been entrusted to keep safe the first woman he’d fallen in love with. All personal feelings needed to be kept off the table.
He sipped a little more of his ice water to clear the dryness in his throat before he stood up and introduced himself. Here goes nothing.
“Hi, I’m Brent. I’m from Erie, Pennsylvania, and sell life insurance. Visiting Alaska is on my bucket list.” He sat back down and waited.
Margaret stared fixedly at the man who’d just introduced himself. It couldn’t be! He was years older, but the face was the same. Brent Saeger. His last name came to her as naturally as breathing.
What was even more troubling—he shouldn’t even be here. He’d been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. How was it possible he was walking around free? She was torn between letting someone know he was a convicted killer and remaining silent.
Margaret, you’ve learned to hear both sides of an argument before you render judgment. Play it cool and find out what’s going on.
She was so distracted she didn’t realize it was her turn to introduce herself. Don’t look at him. She drew in a deep breath and stood up, pasting on a big smile. “Hi, I’m Margaret. I’m from a small town outside of Pittsburgh. I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska.”
“And what do you do?” their tour director prodded.
Here goes nothing. “I’m gathering information for my next murder mystery book. I publish under a different name.”
Uncomfortable silence filled the room, and all eyes stared at her like she was an alien who’d just landed on Earth.
“A writer. That’s a very exciting profession. Will you actually write the book on the tour and possibly kill someone off?”
Margaret was already having second thoughts. Maybe she should’ve told them she was a judge, lawyer and a mayor. “Considering I have an entire room of characters.”
She couldn’t resist and made eye contact with Brent. He was grinning and winked. Damn, he knew she’d just lied. She forced herself to sit through the rest of the introductions and was relieved when Carol bid everyone a good night.
Margaret wasn’t in the mood to socialize. She tossed her napkin on the table and stood up. “I’ll see you in the morning. Have a good night.” Rather than getting cornered on the elevator, she headed for the stairway at the end of the hall. Her room was on the tenth floor, so she had to walk down only six flights.
Her hurried footsteps echoed on the metal steps. Margaret, what are you afraid of? He’s only a former acquaintance. She’d gone down two floors when the sound of hurried footsteps above her increased her anxiety. Was Brent following her? The moment she reached the tenth floor, she almost ran to her room.
As soon as she closed the door, she flipped the locking device. She drew in a few calming breaths. “You’re being ridiculous! Maybe I should’ve had a glass of wine.”
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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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