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Riley Beckett's past just came back to haunt her ... and this time he's got a gun. UNFORGIVEN ... click image.

First, congratulations to jmesparza…(at)etc, this week’s gift certificate winner! If you’d like to be eligible for next week’s prize, use the box to the left to subscribe by e-mail. Now, on to today’s excerpt!

UNFORGIVEN just released September 5 to kick off my new Packing Heat series with Noble Romance. In this excerpt, Riley has just received some devastating news . . . and things go downhill from there.

He followed the sound of sniffles to the kitchen, where he found Riley at the table with her head in her hands. He reached for the light switch and missed.

She looked up as he felt for it. “Don’t. I don’t want you to look at me like this,” she said, sending another chip of his heart to the floor in shards.

“Okay.” He gave up the search and leaned against the doorway. “I don’t think you did it, but the cops will.”

“So what do we do?”

We. His heart made serious strides toward recovery when that particular word slipped from her lips.

Before he could answer, headlights swept the wall of the front room.

“Expecting someone?” Gage asked, plucking his gun off the table. For the second time that night, he took advantage of the dark. It gave him a decent amount of cover. The porch light filtered through the huge front windows, but most of the room remained bathed in shadows.

Loud pounding resonated from the front door. “Riley, open up!”

“Is there a reason someone is trying to beat down your door?” he asked, edging toward the door. Someone male.

Riley rushed past Gage. “That’s Dawson. He’ll know what to do.”

Gage grabbed her by the back of the shirt. He drew her close and spoke through the curtain of her hair. “Dawson . . . as in Sheriff Burke? First name basis?”

“Yes.” She elbowed him in the rib, hitting a sore spot left by the heel of her boot.

Dawson Burke had tried to get his do-gooder palms on Riley while she and Gage had been an item. Gage could have broken the guy in half with his bare hands for it, but Riley always smiled that sweet smile and told Gage he had nothing to worry about. Back then, Gage refused to examine the inkling that Burke’s crush on Riley might have done most of the convincing for her when it came to keeping Gage out of jail. At the time he was too torn up about the whole situation to care, but after having Riley in his arms again those jealous synapses were misfiring like crazy. His grip on the weapon tightened.

Her blue eyes blazed. “We’ve been seeing each other. Now let me—”

The blast of a gunshot put an end to her sentence.

Riley bolted for the door. Before Gage could stop her, she’d thrown it open.

Dawson Burke slumped through the threshold, all decked out in his official uniform with a rather unfortunate pair of accessories: one bullet hole and a blood stain to match.



Riley Beckett’s past just came back to haunt her . . . and this time, he’s got a gun.

When Gage Lawton finds his brother shot dead on his back porch, every shred of evidence points to one person: Gage’s former lover, Riley. He and she didn’t part ways on good terms, and he’s not planning to rekindle anything now–not when he’s got a revolver pointed at her head and a finger on the trigger.

A year after Riley swore she and Gage were over, he returns in a hail of gunfire. One look into those achingly familiar blue eyes and she knows how wrong she was to let him go, but now far more than their heated past stands in the way. A twist of fate puts them in the crosshairs of a killer, leaving Riley with two slim options:  trust her greatest betrayer or face a murderer on her own.