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The Marine Next Door

Cover of The Marine Next Door

The Marine Next Door



Maggie Wheeler never stopped looking over her shoulder. It was a habit she'd learned from being a cop...and from a devastating event in her past. So when John Murdock moved in next door, Maggie didn't know what to make of the sexy marine. But once her son formed a bond with the mysterious stranger, Maggie knew that past might not remain hidden much longer....

With his unwavering sense of duty, John would never let a call for help go unanswered. Especially from the beautiful wounded warrior who refused to give up her secrets. Although she likely knew more about who was after her than she'd ever let on, John vowed to protect those in need. Only then could he find peace, maybe even a door away....


Maggie Wheeler never stopped looking over her shoulder. It was a habit she'd learned from being a cop...and from a devastating event in her past. So when John Murdock moved in next door, Maggie didn't know what to make of the sexy marine. But once her son formed a bond with the mysterious stranger, Maggie knew that past might not remain hidden much longer....

With his unwavering sense of duty, John would never let a call for help go unanswered. Especially from the beautiful wounded warrior who refused to give up her secrets. Although she likely knew more about who was after her than she'd ever let on, John vowed to protect those in need. Only then could he find peace, maybe even a door away....
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    I want to see you.

    KCPD desk sergeant Maggie Wheeler had never seen an uglier flower. Not that there was a thing wrong with the cultivated shape and color of the pink spring tulip or the matching ribbon and tall bud vase.

    But the florist's card burned her fingertips, and everything the flower that had once been her favorite represented stirred like a swarm of angry bees in her stomach. She breathed a measured sigh between tight lips. Why couldn't the past just stay buried in the past?

    If the young man who'd delivered the gift hadn't already disappeared, she'd have sent it back to be delivered to a hospital or nursing home where the tulip and baby's breath could be appreciated. But because that option had left the building, she had no choice but to drop the whole thing into the trash at the end of the counter and empty out the shavings from the front desk pencil sharpener on top of it. She wadded up the card and tossed it in for good measure, too.

    "Maggie." Fourth Precinct chief Mitch Taylor tapped the counter as he strode by, then flicked his finger toward the bank of meeting rooms on the far side of the maze of detectives' desks that filled the main floor. "You're with me. Bring your computer and sit in on this meeting."

    Maggie shot up to attention, as startled by the order as she was by the interruption. "Me, sir?"

    The chief turned and winked, walking backward without slowing his pace. "If you want to see how a task force works, get in here and take notes for me."

    "Yes, sir."

    She didn't wait to be asked twice.

    The flower was forgotten as Maggie grabbed her laptop off her counter, made sure Officer Allen could cover her station at the front desk, and hurried down the hallway after Chief Taylor. She followed him through the door into Interview Room A and quickly slid into the closest empty seat around the long conference table.

    She was used to handling odd jobs around the precinct office, but anticipation had her perched on the edge of her chair. Her gun and badge were just as real as the other hardware in the room. And even though her expertise was paper pushing and patience, she was more than ready to move up in both pay scale and prestige at the police department. At thirty-five, she might wind up being the oldest rookie detective on the force, but she'd finally earned her college degree. She was ready to take on investigative work, ready to take the professional rank test and do the interviews to earn her detective's shield. A little casework experience, even vicariously tagging along at the inaugural meeting of KCPD's new major crime task force, would look good on her resume when she put in for the promotion.

    Per the chief's specific request, she'd notified each of the law enforcement professionals gathered here this morning. Detectives. A police psychologist. Uniformed officers like herself. A representative from the crime lab.

    You deserve to be here, she reminded herself. It had taken her a long time to feel like she was worthy of anything good or exciting in her life. Sometimes, a new situation like this one could still make her flash back to that awful time when she hadn't believed in herself--when she hadn't even thought she'd survive.

    But she believed now. She was here for herself. Here for her ten-year-old son, Travis, and their future. She was in this room because Chief Taylor believed she should be.

    Letting those positive thoughts drown out the unsettled worry over the message and flower she'd received, Maggie wiped the perspiration from her palms on the navy twill of her pant leg, steadied her...

About the Author-
  • Julie Miller is an award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling author of breathtaking romantic suspense--with a National Readers Choice Award and a Daphne du Maurier among other prizes. In 2009 she earned an RT BookReviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Suspense. For a complete list of her books, monthly newsletter and more, go to ...

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