Cheat Her With Charm

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He’s got a secret past. She has dreams for their future.
Together they have a problem that may just kill them both…

(Tilling Passions Book 3)
ISBN: 978-1-4657-1384-1
November 2011

Floral designer, MEGHAN TILLING, has been in love with her fiancé since college. With her business, his promotion and a family illness, she’s finding the demands on her time are keeping them apart.

PETER MADDOCK loves his fiancée with a fierceness that claws at his soul, but finding answers to his past becomes an obsession he can’t ignore. When bizarre accidents threaten Meghan’s life, he wonders if his secrets have finally caught up with him.

Can they both discover the truth without paying the ultimate price …their lives?

 

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Excerpt

Chapter 1

Meghan Tilling’s body quaked with fear and the bone-chilling thirty-eight degrees of the cooler where she was trapped. She pressed her forehead against the icy metal of the door, her palm caressing its pebbled surface, trying to fight the panic lurking like a sinister shadow and threatening to overwhelm her in despair.

How ironic that the annoyance of driving in a Maine snowstorm had kept her at Tilling Gardens and Plants, the business she co-owned with her two sisters. Finishing the shop’s holiday arrangements and festive decorations had seemed a better alternative to a white-knuckled drive home in the heart of a nor’easter. Except now, instead of being stranded in a ditch on the side of the road with a chance of being rescued, she was going to freeze to death alone in the walk-in cooler that was the lifeblood of her business.

Her fingers had gone numb as she’d alternated between fiddling with the finicky latch and banging on the unmoving door. She had no idea how much time had passed since she’d watched the stool holding the door tip over. Unable to remain open on its worn out hinges, the cooler door had swung shut in the sickly slow motion of a nightmare. The click of the latch had been a thunderous noise, punctuated by the absolute darkness that dropped down like an unwelcomed curtain before she’d been able to get out.

Unfortunately, the automatic light switch seemed to be fully functional—unlike the door.

Panic hadn’t set in until she’d tried the inside latch and found it jammed. The release bar wasn’t moving no matter how much pressure she applied. Everything stood frozen here in the dark. Her throat burned from her desperate screams and she sank to her knees defeated by her situation.

Her fiancé, Peter, wasn’t even home to wonder why she hadn’t returned—a state of affairs that had become the norm rather than the exception. Damn that promotion. Peter’s work responsibilities seemed to have tripled over the last several months demanding he travel for one project or another and keeping him out late most evenings.

She missed her fiancé, plain and simple.

On the few evenings a week Peter did make it home, they cooked dinner together, often making love in a desperate coupling that left dinner burning on the stove. With the one year anniversary of their engagement coming up on Christmas, Meghan had hoped to make plans for a spring wedding. But broaching the subject of DJ’s and reception halls when they had so little time together seemed about as appealing as gluing pine needles back on a dried Christmas tree. Add the burden of her father’s declining health and it was no wonder she’d been stewing in her own melancholy over the last few weeks.

Now, trapped in the frigid darkness, Meghan realized her day bemoaning Peter’s work schedule had been selfish and petty. She could have spent the morning calling a repairman to fix the faulty latch on the cooler that was going to kill her as surely as skinny dipping in the family pond this time of year.