Dangerous witness, p.1
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       Dangerous Witness, p.1
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         Part #3 of Redemption Harbor series by Katie Reus  
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Dangerous Witness


  Dangerous Witness

  Redemption Harbor Series

  Katie Reus

  He foolishly let her go…

  When the woman he loved walked out of his life, Brooks Alexander was certain she did so willingly—with the cool two million his father had offered as incentive to walk away. So when the former Marine scout sniper learns that Darcy didn’t take a dime of his father’s payoff, Brooks realizes he made an epic mistake. He’s determined to set things right and reclaim his woman. Except neither task is as easily accomplished as he first thought.

  Now her life is in his hands…

  Wedding planner Darcy is no stranger to disappointment when it comes to the men in her life. When Brooks accused her of taking his father’s bribe, she was devastated that he thought so little of her—and realized he never knew her at all. So she walked away with her pride intact and her heart broken. Now, months later, an overheard conversation puts Darcy in the crosshairs of a dangerous criminal with powerful connections. With nowhere else to turn, she has no choice but to put all her trust in Redemption Harbor Consulting—and its cofounder, the man who broke her heart.

  Dangerous Witness

  Copyright © 2018 Katie Reus

  Cover Art by Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs

  Developmental edits: Kelli Collins

  Copy edits: Julia Ganis

  Digital Formatting by Author E.M.S.

  * * *

  This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

  All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author.

  Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book. This purchase allows you one legal copy for your own personal reading enjoyment on your personal computer or device. You do not have the right to resell, distribute, print or transfer this book, in whole or in part, to anyone, in any format, via methods either currently known or yet to be invented, or upload this book to a file sharing program. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Table of Contents

  DANGEROUS WITNESS

  About the Book

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Thank You for Reading!

  Excerpt from SAVAGE RISING

  Acknowledgments

  About the Author

  Complete Booklist

  Dedication

  For Kari. Thank you for everything!

  Prologue

  Seven months ago

  Darcy paused when her security system let out a little beep-beep, letting her know someone had opened the front door. Her boyfriend, Brooks, had been the one who insisted she get a security system in the first place. Other than her sister, he was the only person who had a key, but he wasn’t supposed to be here for a couple more hours.

  Not that she was complaining. More time with Brooks was always welcome. She was just getting her wedding planning business off the ground and he ran a huge ranch so sometimes it was a struggle to make time for each other. They always did, however. And even if she wouldn’t say the words out loud to anyone, she was pretty certain they were heading toward marriage.

  Which was something she hadn’t even been sure would happen for her. She absolutely loved planning weddings—and the idea of finding a happily ever after with someone you loved and trusted. But actual marriage for herself? She hadn’t contemplated it until Brooks. Her own family had been so dysfunctional, her father abandoning her mom, and her and her sister when something better came along. But Brooks had her questioning everything. He wasn’t perfect; no one was.

  But he was perfect for her.

  Setting her laptop down, she hurried to the mirror over her dresser in her bedroom and ran her fingers through her hair. Not that it would matter or that he would even care what she looked like. He liked her any way he could get her—and she felt the same about him.

  Casual in jeans, a T-shirt and bare feet, she felt free to be herself around him. When she was in work mode, she was a totally different person. Polished, put together, usually in heels and always wearing makeup. But with Brooks, for the first time in a relationship, she was simply Darcy, and he loved her anyway. That was why she’d fallen so hard and fast for him. He’d given her no choice. He’d just barreled into her life and she’d realized something was missing. Him.

  As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she found Brooks standing in the foyer, hands shoved into his jeans pockets. Sans his cowboy hat, he had on dusty boots and his standard flannel shirt. She smiled automatically, but her lips froze as she took in his dark expression.

  He looked…angry. Truly and utterly angry. She’d never seen him like this. She took another step toward him. “What’s wrong? Did something happen at the ranch?” Oh God, what if one of his friends had been hurt? She knew how much he cared about the people he worked with.

  He tightened his jaw once but didn’t move from his spot by the front door. “I just had an interesting conversation with my father.”

  Ah. She’d been planning to tell Brooks tonight about the ridiculous offer his father had made her. He’d offered her two million dollars to walk away from Brooks. At first she thought he’d been joking. When she realized he’d been dead serious, she’d been shocked—and offended. As politely as possible, she’d told him to shove it. After all, he was Brooks’s father, so she hadn’t wanted to be completely obnoxious to him. Even if he deserved it.

  Brooks stood there staring at her, his jaw taut.

  Darcy wanted to tell him not to be too angry at his father. Even if the man had done a complete jerk move. She was pretty certain that deep down his father truly cared about Brooks and was just looking out for him. She thought the older man had just wanted to make sure she was serious about his son, and not someone after his wealth. Before she could speak, Brooks pulled out a small box from his jeans pocket and opened it.

  Her eyes widened when she realized what it was. A huge, sparkly engagement ring. This seemed like a very strange time to be proposing, especially given his furious expression, if he even was. Because it seemed like he was angry at her. But that didn’t make sense. What was going on?

  His eyes were cold, colder than his expression. “I shouldn’t be surprised, but I truly am. You really had me fooled. If you’d held out a little longer you’d have gotten more than a couple million.” The disgust in his voice made her stomach clench.

  She gasped at his words, and the rage accompanying them, as she registered what he was implying. This was a side of Brooks she’d never seen before. The anger rolling off him w
as palpable and he was looking at her as if she was a stranger, as if he hated her.

  Stricken, reeling, she wrapped her arms around herself, unable to believe what he was saying. He thought she’d taken the money? “Excuse me?”

  “You heard me. I’d planned to propose this weekend. But it turns out my father made you a better offer. Or maybe a more apt description is that he’s already taken care of your bill,” he snapped out, venom in his voice.

  She jerked back as if he’d struck her. Without thinking, she crossed the distance to him and slapped his face. The sharp sound reverberated in the taut silence as her palm stung. But not as badly as the backs of her eyes did.

  She could barely breathe, as though he’d just shoved a dagger into her chest. Her throat was too tight to even respond to his words. He’d just called her a whore without saying the actual word. Her bill? Oh God, she felt sick. He’d assumed she’d taken money from his father to—what, walk away from him? That she was a liar and a fake and had been acting this whole time? That she’d never loved him? When in reality he was the only man she’d ever loved.

  “You think I took two million to walk away from you?” Her voice was incredulous.

  “Don’t bother to deny it!”

  She wanted to rage at him, to tell him how wrong he was. But if he actually believed she’d taken that money, he’d never known her at all. No way in hell was she going to defend herself. Because she had nothing to defend herself from. She’d done nothing wrong. And he should have known better. Should have known her. She couldn’t even look at him right now. “Get out. Now.” Her voice was raw, strained.

  If she stayed in his presence another moment longer, she was afraid she would slap him again. And the thought of turning to physical violence made her sick. She hated that she’d already lost control once.

  Turning on her heel, she strode up the stairs on wobbly legs, her entire body shaking. It was her house and she should have shoved him out the door, but she was about to start crying and she refused to let him see her like that. He already thought she was a gold-digging whore. She didn’t need him to think she was weak as well.

  When she reached her room, she slammed the door shut and sank down against it as tears tracked down her cheeks, sick inside. She couldn’t believe what had just happened, couldn’t believe Brooks could ever think this of her.

  He knew her background, knew everything about her family, and he still thought that about her? A sob rose in her throat and she heard the beep-beep of the door opening downstairs.

  He was gone. Had tossed those horrible accusations in her face like a grenade and walked away.

  Now that she knew she was alone, she let the emotions rip free as sobs racked her body.

  This morning she’d been excited about seeing her boyfriend, and beginning to hope that maybe there was a happily ever after in store for her with him. Now…everything was shattered. Her heart, and her future.

  She wondered if she should have told him how wrong he was about her, raged the truth at him—but it wouldn’t have made any difference. Now she knew exactly what he thought of her. She didn’t care if he apologized, they were through. She couldn’t be with somebody who thought so little of her, thought she was actually capable of taking money in place of him.

  He’d never known her at all.

  Chapter 1

  —One stupid mistake can change everything.—

  New Year’s Eve

  Brooks tapped the top of his beer bottle to Savage’s champagne glass. It was strange to see Savage drinking something bubbly—or anything not beer—but the man had just gotten engaged. “Congrats, brother,” he said. They might not be blood brothers, but Savage was the closest Brooks had ever come to having an actual brother.

  And Savage certainly deserved this happiness. He’d fallen hard for single mother Olivia and her daughter Valencia.

  His best friend grinned and looked over to where Olivia was showing off her ring to Skye, Mary Grace, and Martina. Though the women had already seen the ring, Olivia obviously didn’t realize that. Brooks had seen it too. Savage hadn’t been able to keep it a secret from any of them. He’d been a wreck the last month as he figured out how to ask her. Brooks hadn’t thought anything could get the former Marine/CIA contractor spooked but Olivia had him wrapped around her finger. And so did her daughter. Savage would do anything for the two of them.

  “Thanks,” Savage said. “Now we’ve got to plan a wedding and find a place to live. It’s going to be a busy few months.”

  “Months?” Brooks might not have any experience in the marriage department, but his father had been married enough times that he knew planning a wedding could take a while.

  “Yep. We’re not doing a long engagement.”

  “You know who you’re going to use as a planner?” Okay, that wasn’t subtle. And he already knew what Savage was going to say before he said it.

  His friend lifted an eyebrow. “You volunteering for the job? What do you know about planning weddings?” Savage snorted out a laugh before taking a sip of the champagne. He grimaced then put it down on the nearest table. “I need a beer.”

  Brooks fell in step with him as they headed toward the open bar set up by the Olympic-sized pool on the lanai. Everyone had decided to have a New Year’s Eve party at his family’s estate since it had the most room—and privacy. South Carolina was cold this time of year and this winter had been a brutal one. His breath was visible in front of him, curling up like little wisps of smoke. Winter was his favorite time of year but lately he was anything but settled. And it wasn’t a mystery why. “I know a wedding planner. Her company is new, but she’s very talented and driven.” He was also in love with her. But he left that part out.

  Savage gave him a strange look as they reached the small wet bar. “How the hell do you know a wedding planner?”

  It was a fair question. Brooks ran his family ranch—though lately he was doing more and more for Redemption Harbor Consulting and letting his foreman take over at the ranch. He also didn’t have many female friends because of his job.

  Savage knew everything about him. Almost.

  Brooks didn’t answer, just set his own half-finished beer down as his friend got one. Looking out at everyone having a good time, a pang of loneliness hit him square in the chest. He was happy for the friends of his who’d settled down. Even his dad seemed to have finally gotten his head on straight. He’d moved back to South Carolina from Florida and seemed almost content. The eccentric billionaire, who’d never been much of a father, had been married so many times before. He’d finally left wife number…four, maybe? He didn’t always marry them, so technically he might have only been married three times. Brooks didn’t know. And he didn’t really care.

  It wasn’t as if any of the marriages had produced other children, so he didn’t have any half-siblings. And Brooks had never cared to get to know any of his father’s significant others. Because they’d all been gold diggers who hadn’t lasted long. And the previous one had actually hit on him the last time he’d visited Florida.

  “So?” Savage asked.

  “It’s Darcy.” Savage had never actually met Darcy. None of his friends had. Brooks had been ready to introduce her to everyone when his father had dropped a bomb on him. Douglas had offered Darcy a couple million to walk away from him. And like a dumbass, Brooks had assumed she’d taken it. When he’d accused her, she hadn’t denied it. Instead she’d slapped him and walked out. Only very recently had he learned from his father that she hadn’t. God, he’d been such a fool. He should have known she’d have never taken that money.

  “Who’s Darcy… Wait, that bi—”

  “Don’t finish that sentence,” Brooks growled out. The sharpest sense of possessiveness swelled inside him.

  Savage looked around the pool area, confused. “Valencia’s asleep.” And Savage didn’t curse around his soon-to-be-adopted daughter. That was pretty much the only time the man didn’t curse.

  Brooks looked away from
his friend. No one was paying attention to them. Everyone was in little clusters, scattered around the pool, talking, laughing, and drinking. Even though his father didn’t actually live in the main house on the ranch, but in another smaller house on the estate, he’d still paid to have the event decorated and catered. There were glittery lights everywhere, tons of food and the highest quality alcohol. It was overkill since there were fewer than fifteen people there tonight, but Brooks guessed his father had simply been trying to do a nice thing. Trying to make up for a lot of lost years. Which was why he hadn’t told his father that the big gesture wasn’t necessary.

  Right about now he wished Darcy was with him. He just wasn’t sure how to make things right. “She didn’t take the money,” he finally said.

  “What?”

  “Darcy didn’t take the money my dad offered her,” he said, finally turning back to Savage.

  His friend frowned, his normally harsh expression even harder. “What are you talking about? You said—”

  “I was wrong. My dad only told me a few weeks ago, right after the end of the Miami job, that she didn’t take the money. He thought I’d known.” But Brooks hadn’t. He’d gone to see Darcy right after his father told him about the offered money and he’d basically called her a gold digger. Not in those exact words. But he’d been harsh enough—harsher. And she hadn’t corrected him. She’d just slapped him across the face and walked away with tears in her eyes.

 
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