of Her Heart
Harlequin Intrigue #757
He'd been assigned to shadow
Dianna Englander's every move and keep the young widow safe from
the murderer who killed her politician husband. Piece of
cake if veteran copy Travis Bronson could convince the stubborn
businesswoman to follow his orders. The scarred officer
knew the price of carelessness and would do whatever it took to
keep his beautiful charge alive--even if it meant spending days
and nights together. But they were in more danger than
either of them suspected, not just from unknown enemies intent
on keeping Dianna quiet for good, but from a passion that knew
combines an intriguing mystery with well-developed characters
into a story that will entrance its readers. The believable
characters and exciting plot that Ms. Johnston has fashioned are
among the best. She has written a top-notch story that is
entertaining and engrossing. If you are looking to read a
stimulating romantic intrigue, LAWFUL ENGAGEMENT
fits the bill perfectly."
--Nicole Hulst, CataRomance Reviews
“Why is it that you’re always hungry after school?”
Dianna gave Julie’s shoulders a hug as the elevator
door opened onto the vast, architecturally dynamic lobby of the
Englander Dispute Resolution Center. The building was modern, yet, with
its arched windows, high ceilings and sparkling chandeliers, its feel
was old-world grand.
The heels of Dianna’s navy pumps clicked on the marble
floors. The shoes matched her linen suit--short-skirted, professional
but comfortable in the Los Angeles winter. Dianna, from the east, still
couldn’t get used to how warm it was this time of year. She had even cut
her blonde hair into a soft, slick pageboy parted in the middle, rather
than keeping it long as she had once worn it.
Or maybe she’d needed to change everything about her
“Being bored at school starves me,” the child replied
to Dianna’s question, looking up with a huge, adult-charming grin that
displayed slightly crooked front teeth.
She kept grinning even as, on their way to the door
outside, Dianna and she passed by the security guards screening people
Dianna kept grinning, too--but hers was forced.
She had Jeremy, Julie’s father, to thank for the extra
security in the building. Of course, since this was part of the Van
Nuys, California, civic center, security screening was a way of life.
The area housed all sorts of government office buildings: federal, state
and municipal. And courthouses. And post offices. And other structures
that could attract unsavory people with mayhem on their minds.
Like Glen Farley.
But these dark-uniformed, brusque security guys were
new. Efficient, thorough and even unnerving, they had come highly
recommended, Jeremy had said, by some law enforcement hot-shots he
trusted. He had hired them as a result of Dianna’s spotting Farley the
first time. He hadn’t seen the horrible man. Neither had Julie. But
thank heavens Jeremy had taken her word for it. She had nearly given up
hoping for people to believe her.
She certainly hadn’t bothered notifying the feds
hunting for Farley since Brad’s murder, either about the first time she
saw Farley here or the second.
During those initial horrendous months after her
husband’s death, she had seen Farley several times, hanging around.
Taunting her. She’d reported it then. But the agents on the case had
evidence Farley had fled the area --evidence they apparently found more
credible than her fearful and emotional phone calls. Though they claimed
to have checked, they’d found no sign of him.
The last times she called, she doubted they’d looked
That was one of many reasons she had left Washington.
“Hey, look,” Julie said, drawing Dianna out of her
disturbing thoughts. She pointed her index finger, its nail chewed to an
irregular edge, toward a pushcart on the paved plaza outside the Center.
One day, Dianna would have to introduce the girl she
thought of as her surrogate niece to the pleasures of nail polish--clear
or light pink, for a pre-teen. Maybe then she wouldn’t gnaw on her
Julie didn’t have a mother to teach her such things.
“What’s that guy doing?” Julie grabbed Dianna’s elbow
and pulled her toward the elaborately decorated cart. A sign on its
surface proclaimed that it sold “Fare to keep you awake and alive.”
Below was a list of food, drinks and prices: mochas, lattes and all
imaginable coffee creations, sweet rolls, and cold gourmet sandwiches.
Dianna hadn’t thought she was hungry, but her stomach
grumbled. No hotdogs, though. If Julie insisted on heading for the
outdoor mall for a wiener, then Dianna would resist....
What was that guy doing?
A man in a white T-shirt with a red “Cart à la Carte”
logo in the middle stood right beside the pushcart.
His hands were in motion--a good thing, too, for he
was juggling knives. And not wimpy butter knives, but steak knives with
wicked-looking serrations. He wasn’t tossing them high, but they
flew end-over-end as he flawlessly caught and tossed them in his
obviously skilled, large hands. The motion of his arms emphasized the
breadth of substantial biceps and tautened his shirt against his equally
broad and muscular chest.
“Wow,” said Julie in an awed voice beside Dianna.
I’ll second that, Dianna thought, though for different
reasons than Julie. The guy was one sexy dude.
Not that she was into dudes these days, let alone sex.
It was okay to admire a good-looking man from afar, but that was
This dude’s hair was sandy brown, cut short, almost
military style. He was barely even looking at the dangerous utensils
that twisted and soared under his control. His cobalt-blue eyes appeared
to be fixed on Dianna.
And when she caught his glance, one corner of his
wide, straight mouth curved slightly upward in acknowledgment.
She had seen him before.
He stopped juggling, catching the knives and setting
them down on the cart. “Can I help you?” he said. “How about an
albacore tuna sandwich for the young lady, and an espresso for her
The guy’s tongue was as flawless as his juggling. As
he’s stressed the word “young,” Dianna had been certain he would refer
to her as the “older lady,” but instead had complimented her.
She recalled suddenly where she had seen him before:
in the reception area of the A-S Development offices, where Dianna
managed the dispute resolution center named for her husband.
The Englander Center was an experiment that held great
promise, and A-S Development, which had constructed it, also was
responsible to ensure its use.
In this area abounding with courts and litigants, the
idea was to encourage people to save time and money by paying mediators
to help them resolve disputes amicably. Or, if they couldn’t, they could
hire “rent-a-judges”--real, retired judges who held realistic trials in
the Center’s own model courtrooms.
So far, the experiment was a success. The law offices
within the Center were completely rented, and Dianna had no problem
filling the conference and courtrooms nearly constantly.
So many people were undoubtedly a good market for food
vendors. And that was where Dianna had seen the gorgeous hunk of a
juggler before: that morning, in her office, peddling food.
“Would you like a sandwich here, Julie?” she asked the
girl. “Or would you like to go to one of the other carts along the
“Oh, but you have to stay here,” the man told them.
“It’s in the cards.” Dianna couldn’t figure out where he could have fit
a deck of cards in the side pocket of his snug jeans, but he whipped one
out with a flourish. “Pick a card, lovely companion,” he said, stepping
She felt her cheeks redden. “No, thanks,” she said.
“Please, Dianna,” the girl begged, excitement
glimmering in her eyes.
“Well...” Dianna turned back toward the man and
shrugged. “All right.”
She put out her hand, mentally comparing it with
Julie’s much smaller one. Her nails were rounded, and she used a
The man fanned out the cards. “Go ahead,” he said as
she hesitated. “Pick one.”
Dianna closed her thumb and forefinger on one from the
middle of the deck. She pulled it out.
“Now look at it,” the man said.
She did, then blinked, unable to believe her eyes.
It was a three of clubs. But it wasn’t the suit or the
number that startled her.
Printed along the card’s side was, “Beware.”