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Chapter One


July, 1942


Regan had left D.C. feeling pretty good about her meeting with General Carson. He'd been very impressed with her experience as a freelance private investigator and particularly the last assignment involving undercover work. That little job had ended with the breakup of a Black Market operation.

Now she was on her way home after a too-short visit with her family in Boston. As sorry as she was to leave them, she needed to get back to her life in Hartford. She needed to get in touch with Eddie McIntyre and Todd Evans, two of the insurance adjusters she worked with. She should probably get in touch with Chief O'Mara, too. Sometimes he had jobs for her. She needed to get back in the swing of things.

For now, she was on call with the army, but General Carson assured her that wouldn't be the case for long. As things heated up on the war front, so things would heat up on the home front. There were always those ready to profit from others’ misfortunes.

But the person she would call when she got home was Mabel Graham, Eddie McIntyre's sister. She'd stayed with Mabel during her last case, and they'd become fast friends.

Regan also wanted to ask Mabel about Wilma Van, the girl who'd ended up staying with them after she'd been beaten and assaulted. Regan still shuddered when she thought about what Wilma looked like hours after that beating.

As upsetting as that was, a lot of good had come of it. Not only had the three women gotten as close as sisters, but Wilma had given Eddie McIntyre the evidence he needed to put the police on the track of the thieves.

In fact, Regan would have been extremely pleased with the way her life was going right now if it hadn't been for one little snag. Make that two little snags. Mark Harris and his irresistible son, Patrick. Three little snags if you counted their adorable dog, Mitzi, that Regan had rescued from a dognapper. Puppy dog eyes. All three of them had those puppy dog eyes. That was okay for Mitzi, of course, but it was upsetting in the two Harris men. When Mark and Patrick turned the full force of those puppy eyes on her, she was a goner and she knew it.

That was one of the reasons Regan would not be getting in touch with the Harrises. A feeble excuse, she knew, but if she admitted her real reason, then she would have to remember the very flammable kisses she'd shared with Mark. And it wasn't just the kisses.

It was scrambled eggs and toast and Crazy Eights with Patrick. It was Mark's love and care of his little boy.  It wasn't the 6'2” of muscle mass topped by thick, sandy blond hair, although that certainly added to the attraction. It was the deep down goodness of the man.

Of course, there was one other reason. One that Regan didn't want to think about. One that didn't jibe with the kind of man she knew deep down that he was. The last time she'd seen Mark, he'd been with a peppy little blond temptress. Laughing with her, in fact, over drinks in a very swanky lounge.

Regan was good for strawberry ice cream and rescuing dogs and little boys, but she obviously wasn't good enough to ask out on a real date.

Maybe she shouldn't have given away those nice clothes she'd worn on her undercover assignment. She should have kept them to wear around town where she might run into Mark, and he could see what he was missing.

Regan risked a glance in the rear view mirror to see hair dark as midnight, eyes bluer than the deep blue sea, and a flawless, top cream complexion. She was fairly attractive herself, even if she had to be the one to say it.

For the final time, she hoped, Regan put Mark Harris out of her mind. She had her career as a private investigator, and a whole new career awaited her with the army. An endless vista of possibilities stretched ahead as far as her mind could reach. Not one of those possibilities included a trip down the aisle and a lifetime as the little woman.

When Regan pulled into the parking lot behind her apartment building, she was feeling more at peace. Her decision had been made … for the umpteenth time … and she was going to stick to it come heaven, hell or high water.

For now, she looked forward to a hot bath, a light supper and an evening reading a good book curled up on her own comfortable sofa. An early night and she'd be ready to reopen her office over the Woolworth's store in the morning.

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  Copyright 2010-2013 Margaret Lake