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Former Marine turned ballistics expert, Wesley Cross is known around town for two things, his rugged good-looks and cocky attitude—until he finds his ex-girlfriend lying in a puddle of blood in his basement. The scene screams setup, but the discovery of a rare gem and a puzzling autopsy suggests the murder goes much deeper than that. Wesley will do whatever it takes to clear his name, including calling in a notoriously headstrong—and sexy—scientist.

While most little girls were playing dress up, Gwyneth Reece was digging in the dirt collecting bugs. Now one of the top forensic entomologists in the country, Gwen reluctantly accepts a job from a pushy cowboy and travels to the small, Southern town of Berry Springs. Heavy storms are brewing, and when she’s forced to check into the creepiest hotel she’s ever seen, she instantly regrets her decision to help out the former Marine.

Following up on a tip, Wesley heads to the Half Moon Hotel but quickly realizes his visit was not by chance. The killer lured him there, and suddenly everyone from the uptight bellman to the wealthy couple just passing through town become suspect. Bodies begin to disappear, and Wesley knows the killer will do anything to get to him…. including hurting the woman who’s kept his head spinning since he first laid eyes on her.

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WESLEY LOOKED DOWN at the blood on his hands. He hadn’t bothered to wash them, hell, he hadn’t even thought about it, but now he wished he’d taken a quick second to do just that.
He rubbed his thumb over his palm, hoping the dried blood would erase away.
It didn’t. The coffee pot gurgled and beeped. When Chief McCord had asked him to leave the scene and wait in his kitchen upstairs, he’d started a pot. He wasn’t sure why—nervous energy, he assumed. Or
maybe it was a subconscious gesture to remind everyone that he was a nice guy and not someone
capable of murdering his former lover in his basement. He hadn’t even considered that he would be
the initial suspect until he’d seen the questioning look in the Chief’s eyes as he approached the scene.
A thin beam of moonlight shone through the window above the sink, sparkling off a kitchen
knife he’d used earlier in the day. A wave of nausea washed over him. He rubbed his hands together
again, the blood on his skin beginning to feel suffocating.
Jesus Christ, he needed a shower.
Underneath the table, he shuffled his cowboy boots, knowing that they were covered in blood,
It had happened so fast. So fucking fast. The blood… just seemed to drain out of her.
He felt his pulse begin to pick up with anxiety, an unfamiliar feeling for the fearless former
Marine. He glanced at the digital clock glowing from the stove—almost one thirty in the morning.
The chaos in the basement was beginning to die down, but there were still a number of uniforms
swarming his home.
He clasped his hands together on the table and swallowed the knot in his throat.
“Wesley? You alright, man?”
His gaze lifted. He blinked and was pulled back to the moment. “Sorry. Yeah.” He looked at
the recorder sitting in the middle of the table.
“Okay.” Detective Dean Walker sat across from him, a line of concern running across his
tanned forehead. “We’re going to go through all this again. Remember, this will all be on record now.
Everything you say, okay?”
Wesley nodded.
Dean put his finger on the record button, but then paused and leaned forward. “Sure you don’t
need a second, man? Want to take a lap outside or something? Gather your thoughts?”
A small, appreciative small smile crossed Wesley’s lips. He’d always liked Dean; a
hardworking, true southern cowboy, who was knee-deep in his first year as Berry Springs’s only
detective. Friends for decades, Dean had helped Wesley build his shop when he’d started his own gun
manufacturing business eight years earlier, and Wesley had returned the favor when he helped Dean
solve the cold case of Dean’s father’s homicide using his ballistics expertise. They respected each
other, and it was a relationship Wesley was sure glad he had in his current circumstance.
“No, I want to get this shit done.” He nodded toward the recorder. “Turn it on.”

Check out the others in the series:

The Lake / TheWoods / The Storm

Author Bio:

Award-winning author of romantic suspense and mystery, Amanda McKinney wrote her debut novel, LETHAL LEGACY, after walking away from her career to become a writer and stay-at-home mom. Set in small, Southern towns, Amanda’s books are page-turning murder mysteries peppered with steamy love scenes, and include the BERRY SPRINGS SERIES and the BLACK ROSE MYSTERY SERIES, with many more to come.

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