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Most Recent Release

Bite the Biscuit

Bite the Biscuit

A Barkery and Biscuits Mystery
Midnight Ink
May 2015

ISBN 978-0738745039
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Midnight Ink Books

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Special Agent NannySpecial Agent Nanny

Harlequin Intrigue #725
September 2003

ISBN 0-373-22725-6
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Tough-guy agent Shawn Jameson work in a hospital day care?  If it would help him to catch an arsonist, he'd give it a shot.  Rumors hinted that Dr. Kelley Stanton had torched hospital records to cover up a mistake.  But the beautiful doc didn't fit the profile--and Shawn's protective instincts went on red alert.

With her reputation in shreds and her daughter in danger, Kelley couldn't afford to notice the handsome day-care worker.  Trusting the sexy stranger could be her downfall--but with their first explosive kiss, Kelley knew it would be worth going down in flames...



"[Readers]...will enjoy the hero's adventures with children." -- Cindy Whitsel, RT Book Reviews

"Harlequin Intrigue's new Special Agent Nanny, is one Nanny I would love to meet!!  I found this book very interesting and it kept me glued to the edge of my chair right to the very end.   Unlike the Harlequins of my mom's day, this one had several turns and twists in the story line and was not predictable at all.  I really felt some emotions for and against some of the characters, which shows the author, Linda O Johnston, knows what she is doing when she puts an book together. " -- Epinions.com


“Okay, sweetheart. We’re here.” Not that Kelley had any doubt that her daughter Jenny, clad today in a flowered T-shirt and matching red slacks, knew full well that they’d arrived at the Gilpin Hospital KidClub daycare center. As soon as they went through the door into the main playroom, the blonde three-year-old had stopped prancing at her mother’s side and stood still, thumb in her mouth. With her other hand, she clutched Kelley’s mid-calf black skirt. Tears filled her brown eyes.

Before the fire, Jenny hadn’t been able to wait to come here to play. She had always dashed into the midst of the kids who started their day in this charming room adorned with bright rainbows on the walls. Mostly, the little ones congregated at one of the child-sized tables coloring until it was time for the caregivers to begin planned activities.

But since the fire, her daughter had demonstrated every symptom of separation anxiety: tears, protests, tantrums.

It broke Kelley’s heart every morning. But she’d spent days home with Jenny right after the fire. Took her to a kind counselor. When Jenny had started to recover emotionally, Kelley had returned full time to her demanding medical practice. Her office was in the adjoining building, and she spent a lot of time seeing patients in the hospital itself. She dropped in often to look in on Jenny, staying far in the background so her daughter, busy playing, wouldn’t notice her.

Once Jenny got used to being there each day, she seemed to thrive once more, with all the other children to play with and the excellent staff who watched over the kids while teaching them things commensurate with their ages and abilities.

But those first minutes, when she dropped Jenny off...

“Good morning.” At the gruff, masculine voice, Kelley raised her gaze from her daughter--until she stared into eyes the blue of a mountain stream sparkling in the winter sun. They looked about as icy, too. But the man behind them was one of the most gorgeous hunks Kelley had ever seen.

She felt her face grow pink at the direction her thoughts had veered. But that didn’t deter her mind from noting the breadth of shoulders beneath an off-white shirt and leather vest. Or the slim cut of faded brown jeans. Or the sturdiness of a set jawline, and short hair that was a cross between dirty gold and golden brown. And he wore cowboy boots.

“Good morning,” she returned, knowing her tone was quizzical. Was he the father of one of the half dozen kids settled at places along the tables? Kelley forced herself not to look at his hands to see if he wore a wedding ring. That wasn’t her business.

Besides, a man who looked like him had to be taken.  Either that or he had a bevy of beautiful women at his beck and call.

Not that Kelley cared. She wasn’t interested in any man, great-looking or not. In her experience, not one was worth a fraction of the aggravation he caused.

“And who is this?” The man looked down at Jenny, who only clutched at Kelley’s clothes all the tighter.

The smile on the man’s face looked as if he had sucked on a lime.

“This is Jenny Stanton,” Kelley said, her tone cheerful for her daughter’s benefit. “Are you the daddy of one of the kids?”

“No, I’m the new teacher.”

What? Kelley stared. He certainly didn’t look like the other childcare providers, mostly college-age men and women who studied teaching and needed to earn money in their spare time. A few were career preschool teachers. But this man...?

He knelt in front of Jenny. “My name is Shawn,” he told her. Then he rose. “Shawn Jameson. And you’re Mrs. Stanton?”

No. Kelley nearly shuddered. She definitely wasn’t Mrs. Stanton. That implied she was Randall Stanton’s wife.

She hadn’t been his wife for two years now. And that was fine with her.

It was her turn to force a smile onto her lips. “I’m Dr. Kelley Stanton,” she told the man. “I’m one of the doctors on staff here.”

Was it her imagination or did Shawn Jameson’s straight, thick brows dip just a little before he resumed his uncomfortable smile? “Very nice to meet you, Dr. Stanton.” He stressed the word “doctor” but it did not sound like an apology, which she wouldn’t have expected anyway. But neither did she expect it to stop just short of an insult.

Didn’t he like doctors? If so, he shouldn’t be working in a hospital, even with children. Especially with children, since many were doctors’ kids. But maybe she’d imagined his reaction.

“Good to meet you, too,” she clipped out, then knelt, though she had to extract her skirt gently from Jenny’s hand. “Okay, sweetheart. Time for me to go, but I’ll be back for you soon.”

“No, Mommy,” Jenny said in her sweet little girl’s voice. “I don’t want you to go.”

Kelley inhaled, knowing the scene that was to come.  Hating it, for she always felt as if she were hurting Jenny. “I have to, honey, but--“

“But we’re going to have a great time here today, Jenny.”

Kelley looked up in gratitude as Shawn Jameson took Jenny’s hand and tried to gently lead her away.

Jenny began to cry.

Shawn’s blue eyes widened. Surely that wasn’t fear Kelley saw in them. He glanced at her as if for help, but she mouthed, “Thanks,” and backed away. Jenny began to cry even louder.

The other children watched the exchange, eyes huge.  The lower lips of a couple began to quiver, as if they might cry in sympathy for Jenny. Or for their own absent parents.

Obviously Shawn noticed, for he looked around nervously.

“Hey,” he said, grabbing a pad of paper and some crayons off the table. He appeared desperate. What was he going to do? “Do you have any pets at home, Jenny?”

No, Kelley wanted to tell him. Don’t remind her.  Jenny wanted a puppy or a kitten. Having a pet was even a recommended therapy to help her recover from the trauma of the fire. But the timing wasn’t right.

If Kelley were a stay-at-home mom, the way Randall had insisted, there would be someone to take care of a pet. But that wasn’t reality. It wasn’t what Kelley wanted either for herself or her daughter. She wanted Jenny to have a strong role model.

Not the kind of role model Kelley herself had had.

“I don’t have no pets,” Jenny told Shawn, shaking her head sadly. But at least she was no longer crying.

“Would you like one?”

It was time for Kelley to intervene. The man couldn’t be allowed to distract her daughter by making

her feel bad about other things.

As Jenny nodded in response to his question, Shawn said, “Well, then, you shall have one.”

That was it. Kelley began crossing the room toward them, but Shawn Jameson must have noticed, for he held up one large hand. Kelley paused, but only for a minute. If he didn’t stop--

And then she got it. The man, kneeling on the floor beside the pint-sized table, was using the crayons to sketch on the pad. In moments, an outline of a fuzzy spaniel puppy took shape, one with big, sad eyes and a lolling tongue. And that with only a few strokes on the paper.

It was an adorable caricature.

“Here you are, Jenny,” Shawn said. “This is your new puppy. And--“ He made a few more strokes on the page. A child appeared beside the dog--a child with Jenny’s straight, blonde hair and soulful chocolate brown eyes. She wore a crown, like a princess.

“For me?” Jenny asked in obvious delight. Her tears had dried, replaced by a big, amazed grin.

“For you,” Shawn replied. “But you’ll have to think of a name for the dog.”

“Okay,” Jenny replied, her small brows knit as she gave the matter a lot of thought.

Before she came up with a name, the other kids were crowding around, looking at her drawing. Demanding, “Me, too, Shawn. Please. Me next,” all in a chorus that earned from Shawn Jameson a foolish, pleased grin.

Kelley turned toward the door. No matter what the man’s qualifications, he had obvious talent in one direction. And the kids loved it.

Maybe he would work out there after all.