Today it is my pleasure to spotlight the release of THE DETECTIVE by Adrienne Giordano
She’s captured his heart…and the attention of a murderer
Injured homicide detective Brodey Hayward needs a distraction, and he finds it as a consultant on a cold case murder. When Brodey’s investigation delays plans to remodel the former crime scene, he uncovers another kind of distraction: spirited Lexi Vanderbilt. Despite her distrust of men, Brodey charms the alluring interior designer into helping him examine the case facts.
Working closely with the ultrasexy detective helps Lexi lower her guard, igniting a passion that even Chicago’s winter can’t cool. As they close in on the killer, Lexi becomes his new target. To save her, Brodey must either betray her trust—or risk losing Lexi forever.
Read an exclusive excerpt from The Detective
A few seconds later, a solo Jenna ran up beside Brodey, her heels clicking against the concrete. For
probably the thousandth time, he marveled over how women ran in high-heeled boots. “Where’s
“Back at her car grabbing carpet samples.”
He stopped, shifted sideways and spotted her popping the trunk on a vehicle not half a block away.
“Brodey, she’ll be fine. I have never met such a worrywart.”
“It never hurts to be cautious.”
“Cautious is one thing, paranoid is another.”
“I’m not paranoid.” Yeah, I am. “Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but with what I do for a living, I
think that’s normal.”
Jenna snorted. “You’re funny.”
Leaving him on the sidewalk, she dug out the key to the Williams home and unlocked the front
door. Once again, he glanced back, making sure Lexi was squared away. Still down the block, she
shut her trunk, checked that it had latched and hefted a bag over her shoulder.
That bag looked pretty damned heavy. He started back down the block toward her. “Sit tight. I’ll
“I’ve got it!”
Of course. He liked independent women, but could they accept some help every now and again?
“Yes.” Four cars down she hesitated, stared down at the few samples in her hands. “Shoot. I forgot
one in the car. I’ll meet you inside.”
He stood for a minute, waiting. Another few minutes wouldn’t matter. Once she got back, they’d go
“Brodey,” Jenna said from the open doorway, “she’s fine. Can we do this? Mr. Hennings called me
an hour ago with a lead on a case that’s not pro bono, and I need to get moving on it.”
For another few seconds, he watched Lexi head back to her car, pop the trunk and mess around in
there. “You good?” he hollered.
She slammed the trunk and held up her hand.
“I’m going in,” Jenna said. “Hurry up and stop obsessing.”
Ha. He’d never stop obsessing and she knew it. Doing what he did for a living, he saw things that
horrified and shocked him on a daily basis. Maintaining his sanity meant locking up the bad guys and
reducing the depravity.
Lexi might be only half a block away, but a lot could happen in that half a block. Rape, abduction,
wayward bullet. None of it would surprise him. He glanced up and down the block, saw nothing
suspicious, then checked on Lexi finally making her way back to him. In another minute she’d be
walking into the house. “Go inside!” she hollered. “I’m fine. I’ll be right there.”
“Okay,” he muttered. She had only a short distance to go. Plus, his sister was in a rush and he
didn’t want to hear her griping. He turned and marched up the steps. “Let’s see if we can find this
LEXI HEFTED THE bag of carpet samples and hoped she hadn’t forgotten anything else because it was
darned cold and her toes were blocks of ice. She beelined for the warmth of the house, determined to
get this thing staged and sold by her deadline. Even if it destroyed her.
With Brodey traipsing around, it just might. The man created all sorts of interruptions. Before he
stormed into her life, she hadn’t missed the simplicity of a physical connection. Now, between
fantasizing about him touching her, his overprotectiveness and his pain-in-the-butt way of trying to
control every situation, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to kill him or curl into a warm bed with him.
Although, either choice might work. For a fling. At this point, she had no interest in falling in love,
but maybe Candace was right and she needed to lighten up. At least a little. If only she could unsee
that pig of an ex stretched across his desk with the twenty-year-old.
Crash. Her shoulder connected with something—definitely bigger—and she wobbled sideways. A
man caught her arm and kept her from going over, but her bag of samples tumbled to the ground.
How many times would she plow into strange men before she started paying attention? She bolted
upright, attempting to balance herself as he gripped her arm. “I’m so sorry,” she said.
“No. My fault. I wasn’t paying attention. Are you hurt?”
His voice had a rawness to it, a weird rasp that made her think of singed vocal cords. “Oh, heavens
no. I’m fine.”
She shrugged free of his too-tight grasp and adjusted her coat sleeves. He wore a down jacket with
a ripped left sleeve and a pair of ratty, faded jeans. The shredded hems must have been dragged across
pavement as he walked. She raised her head and took in his face—day-old beard, crisp blue eyes and
untrimmed hair that dipped well below his earlobes. His cheekbones cut severely into a slope to his
pointy chin, giving him a cartoonish appearance. Distinctive features.
His nearness kicked up a dull throb in her stomach. The man looked harmless, if a bit messy, but
that stomach thing didn’t happen often and she’d take it as a message to move on.
She stepped back, reached for her sample bag and glanced at the Williams home, where Brodey no
longer stood on the sidewalk. “Thank you for keeping me upright.”
“I’ve seen you in the neighborhood,” the man said.
She backed up another step. Come on, Brodey. Come back outside.
When she didn’t respond, he gestured with his chin to the opposite end of the block. “I live down
the street. You’re doing work on the Williams place, right?”
The pinnacle of rudeness would be to simply walk away. That she wouldn’t do. With her luck, he’d
be an eccentric billionaire hunting for a designer and he’d tell every one of his rich friends she blew
No blowing him off.
Faking it the whole way, she smiled and pointed to the home. “I’m the interior designer. I’m sorry,
though, I have people waiting for me.”
Letting him know she wasn’t alone couldn’t hurt.
“Sure,” he said. “But if I’m in the market for a designer, how should I get hold of you?”
Normally, she’d whip out a business card, but not this time. Compared with meeting the man with
the Yorkie earlier, something about this encounter didn’t fit. She patted her pockets, then riffled
through her purse. Her hand landed on her wallet, where she stored her business cards in the outer
pocket, but she continued feeling around. “Well, shoot. I forgot my cards, but I’ll be working here for
a while. If you’d like, leave a note on the door with your phone number and I’ll call you.”
He tilted his head one way, then the other, those icy blue eyes on her in a way that wasn’t quite
sexual, but definitely wasn’t innocent, either. Lexi’s stomach twisted. An absolute clue to leave if
there ever was one. “Thank you again.”
She moved away, pulling out her phone as she marched down the street. She glanced behind her.
The man continued to watch her and she picked up her pace, tripping on a raised edge of sidewalk.
Ouch! Toe throbbing, she stumbled three steps and almost, once again, hit the ground. Finally, she
caught her balance and checked behind her. The man turned in the opposite direction, the direction he
said he lived, and hunched into the wind, walking away from her.
Probably a false alarm. Or Brodey’s paranoia rubbing off. She grunted and hurried up the steps.
Inside the house, she set her bag on the dirty-snow carpet, squatted and began organizing her samples.
She’d love to do a hand-scraped walnut in here. If the budget didn’t allow it, she’d find something
cheaper, but the room begged for hardwood.
Something poked her shoulder and she flinched, the movement knocking her off balance enough
that she toppled to her rear. After the first two saves so far today, this time she couldn’t keep herself
upright. So elegant.
“Whoa,” Brodey said. “You okay? What took you so long?”
He held out both hands and she grasped them, letting him boost her up. In contrast to those of the
man outside, Brodey’s hands were warm and gentle and steady and nothing, not one thing, about them
made her uneasy. Exactly how it should be. “I’m…fine.”
“You don’t sound fine.”
“Brodey, I’m fine. I need to go through these samples, though.”
“Who was that guy you were talking to?”
He saw. Grrr…
“I don’t know. He said he was a neighbor. I wasn’t paying attention and bumped into him.”
He tilted his head, studied her face. “Did he say something?”
“Because before you talked to him you were smarting off and relaxed. Now you’re like a trip wire.
What did he say?”
Damned perceptive man. Considering his job, she shouldn’t have expected any different.
Squatting again, she lined up two more samples. “It wasn’t what he said so much.”
She shrugged. “He knew I was working here. And his clothes. This morning I met a neighbor
and—” she circled one hand “—well, he fit. Everything about him screamed affluence. The guy just
now, not so much. Ripped jacket, torn jeans and an overall messy look. But, I could be wrong.”
He grabbed her notepad and pen from her briefcase and shoved them at her. “Lex, do not minimize
what you are feeling here. That’s your first mistake. Sketch him. Before you lose the details.”
“I want the details before you forget. Please. Humor me?”
And oh that look in his eyes. Soft and pleading and so darned beautiful. Totally playing her and she
didn’t care. So what? A little caution couldn’t hurt. She dug in her purse for a pencil. “I can’t use a
Dropping to a sitting position on the carpet, she roughed out a sketch—the sloping cheekbones, the
pointy chin and messy hair. “His eyes were a weird blue. Icy blue.”
“What’s up?” Jenna asked from the hallway leading to the kitchen.
Brodey remained quiet as the minutes ticked by and Lexi finished her sketch. Not perfect, but
“That’s good. Did he say where he lives?”
“Not specifically. He said down the street. South end of the block.”
He nodded, tore her sketch from the pad and hopped to his feet. “Wait here. I’ll be right back. Do
not leave this house. Either of you.”
Jenna sighed. “Where are you going?”
He held up the sketch. “To find this guy.”
BRODEY KNOCKED ON the neighbor’s door, automatically reaching for his badge that wasn’t there.
Another thing he hated about disability leave. Giving up his gun and creds. He’d work around it. The
door opened and a middle-aged woman, smartly dressed in gray slacks, a black turtleneck and a string
of pearls, greeted him. If this was her hanging-around-the-house look, she needed to ease up.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’m Detective Brodey Hayward. I’m looking into the Williams murder.”
Probably, he shouldn’t have added detective to his name. Call it habit, call it adrenaline zapping his
good sense, call it whatever, but he was in it now and if this woman was smart, she’d question his lack
of badge, shut the door and call the PD to verify what he’d told her. If it got back to his boss, he’d be
cooked. But he couldn’t worry about it now after every alarm bell—the skittering pulse, the tickle at
the base of his neck, the sweating on a blistering cold day—went off.
“I see,” she said. “I hope they find who did it soon. It’s completely unnerving.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He held out the sketch. “Would you mind taking a look at this? Do you recognize
Shivering against the wind, she glanced down and puckered her lips. Her eyebrows squeezed in and
the no-clue look told him everything he needed to know. She didn’t know him. And with a
neighborhood this tight, she’d know him.
“I can’t say that I recognize him. Should I? Is he a suspect?”
“We’re looking into several persons of interest.”
She shrugged and handed him the sketch back. “I’m sorry. I don’t recognize him.”
“Thank you. I appreciate it.”
Next house. In fact, he’d hit every house on the block until he found this guy. Even as a beat cop he
never minded canvassing a neighborhood. He got off on the lure of detective work, questioning
people, searching for that one element that might crack a case.
Canvassing on a fall or summer day was a whole lot more fun, but he’d keep moving and get body
heat going. He zipped his jacket, stepped off the porch and trekked on.
Three houses later, no one recognized the sketch. Which meant Lexi either heard something
incorrectly and the guy didn’t live on this block or he lied. Lexi, with her attention to detail, wouldn’t
screw something like this up, and with the guy’s banged-up appearance, it was more likely he lied.
Brodey pulled out his phone and scrolled to the number Lexi had given him before their meeting with
Brenda the day before.
“Hi,” she said. “Where are you?”
“Canvassing. Are you sure he said he lived on this block?”
“Positive. He said he lived ‘down the street.’ Those were his exact words. I took that to mean he
lived on the block. Why?”
Okay, he’d buy that. “Because I’ve been to three houses and no one recognizes him. In a
neighborhood like this, they know who lives on their street. I’ll finish the rest of the block and if I
can’t find him, I’m going to security. They’ll know everyone here. If they don’t, then we need to
figure out who this is and why he knew you were working at the Williams place.”
Brodey ended the call and continued the search. After hitting every house on the block and visiting
the security guard cruising the block in an SUV, he returned to the house, where Jenna tore out of the
kitchen mumbling various swear words. Apparently, he’d made her late. But, hell, they were
investigating a damned murder.
She stuffed her arms into her coat and buttoned it with the speed of a sprinter. “Did you find him?”
Behind her, heels clicked against tile in rapid-fire tap-tap-taps and Lexi swung into the hallway. He
watched and let his gaze move up her legs, and immediately his temperature shot up. “Security
doesn’t know him and no one I talked to does, either. I’d say your assessment that he doesn’t fit here
For a few seconds, she stood stock-still, only her throat moving as she swallowed once, then a
second time. “Could he have been a thief casing the neighborhood?”
Brodey clucked his tongue. “Maybe. But if he is, he’s one of the worst ever. Why would he
approach you and ask if you were working here? No thief does that.”
“Okay, kids,” Jenna said. “I’m sorry, but I have a lead to chase before my boss gets mad at me. Can
you guys handle this?”
“You’re dumping this on us? After you brought me in on it?”
Jenna tugged his sleeve and planted a kiss on his cheek. “I know. I’m sorry. This other case is a real
heater, though, and you know that means Gerald Hennings will be all over the news. Likely with
information I’ve provided, so I’d better get to it and be right about whatever I tell him. I’ll call you
later. Let me know what I can do to help you find this guy.”
“I will. Be careful. And, as much as the pair of you call me paranoid, he probably saw two beautiful
women posting fliers and was either up to no good or hitting on you. If he was hitting on you, his
Lexi sighed. Too bad. She’d have to endure it because that guy tripped every one of Brodey’s
Jenna waved both arms at him. “I’m leaving before I throw something at you. Call me later.”
She flew out the door, once again leaving Brodey alone with Lexi. Not altogether a horrible
“So,” Lexi said, “you think he intended to attack one of us?”
“That or he saw you two posting fliers and wanted to pump you for information about the case.
Maybe he knows something. Maybe he’s involved.”
Using her right hand, she grabbed the index finger of her left hand, fiddling with it, pressing on her
nail then slowly moving to the next one. Nervous habit. When she spotted him watching, she dropped
her hands, let her arms hang at her sides.
“Precisely why I reamed you two for the flier stunt. Not only does the guy know you’re working
here, sometimes alone—which has to stop—but now he has my sister’s phone number. Lexi,
seriously, you cannot be here alone. This guy might have nothing to do with the Williams murder, but
whoever he is, he shouldn’t have been here. At the very least, he’s probably a thief. And, we don’t
want to consider what he could be at his worst.”
She propped her hands on her hips and blew out a breath. At any second, she would, as his sister
always did, accuse him of being paranoid or cynical. Cynical until a murderer carved someone to
pieces and shoved the body into a trunk. “Whatever argument you’re planning, forget it. It won’t
work. I’m dug in.”
“I wasn’t going to argue.”
Sure she wasn’t. He snorted.
She touched his arm, gently pressing her fingers against his sleeve. Not hard, but enough to get his
attention. “I was thinking about how having someone here with me constantly would slow me down.”
“Better slow than dead.”
“I get it, Brodey. Relax.”
He’d never relax. That was half his problem. Always watching—and waiting—for what could go
wrong. Where Lexi saw possibilities, he saw problems. How many times had he gotten in trouble with
dates because he couldn’t sit through a meal at a restaurant without constantly scanning the place? The
force of that, the final acceptance that his quest to keep people safe had turned into a daily pummeling
over the world being a hideous place, set him back a step, literally pushing him.
He scrubbed his good hand over his face, focused on his pounding heart and breathed in. “I don’t
know. No. That’s a lie. I do know. My job is important. I know I make a difference. But I see the
world from a cop’s eyes. Every damned day, I’m scanning, searching for what might go wrong.
Maybe I am paranoid.”
She moved closer, close enough that the energy around him charged his already amped system
and…yeah…he needed to blow off some steam.
In ways he couldn’t admit right now.
“You’re overly cautious,” she said. “It’s not a bad thing. With what you do for a living, I’d think
it’s natural. But give yourself a break.” She tugged on his shirt, inched just a little closer and grinned.
“Enjoy the fact that you were right. I don’t intend on letting that happen a lot.”
Holy hell, all that crackling energy fried him. Parts of the southern end of his body went rock hard.
Her gaze moved to his lips. “Yes?”
“You might want to step back.”
“I might.” She looked up, locked eyes with him. “Or I might not.”
That right there would be what his boss called a go sign. A giant one. He dipped his head lower,
testing, anticipating her reaction. In response, she tilted hers up.
Definite go sign.
Excerpt. ©Adrienne Giordano. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
Giveaway: Winner’s choice of print copy of The Prosecutor, The Defender or The Marshal. Print (US), Ebook (Worldwide)
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Title: The Detective
Author: Adrienne Giordano
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Meet the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.