Mill Creek Mystique, Book One
Can they face their demons and find love?
Trent Jacobs had everything he wanted in life until the flash of a muzzle ripped his world apart. Now he only has guilt. Permanently removed from fieldwork due to questionable events, Trent retires from the FBI. He retreats to the small town of Mill Creek, Idaho, to become the town sheriff.
Margaret King knows what it’s like to be alone and isolated. Losing her parents as a child was impossible, but the death of her brother damn near killed her. When a strange van appears on her street and her apartment is broken into, she turns to Trent, the only man she knows she can trust.
After Maggie shows up terrified and haunted, Trent’s guilt explodes. She makes him want things he doesn’t deserve, including her. As their past collides with the present, Trent is forced to face his demons to protect her. Or risk losing her.
First part of chapter 1
The rapid knock at Trent’s front door had him hoping that this unexpected interruption would spare him another lonely evening. Hastening his steps, he twisted the knob and sucked in a sharp breath. Nothing would have prepared him for this sight. His partner’s sister and the woman he had dated. Margaret King’s haunted green eyes stared back at him. Her blonde hair was thrown into a loose ponytail.
Several strands had escaped and fluttered in the evening breeze. Even disheveled, she was still beautiful.
Dread settled in his gut, anchoring a weight to his chest as Dalton’s last words filtered through his mind.
Promise me you’ll look after her and keep her safe.
“Maggie, what brings you here?” Trent’s mind raced with possibilities and none settled the growing dread that rotted in his stomach.
Her eyes widened briefly before she found her voice.
“Can I come inside?”
“Of course, sorry,” he stammered, moving aside and making a sweeping motion with his arm.
She hesitated for a second, then looked over her shoulder toward the driveway. Turning back, she met his gaze and released a deep breath. Remorse slapped him in the face as she entered his home. The last time he’d seen her was about ten months ago at Dalton’s funeral. Not once had Trent reached out to see how she had adjusted to life without her brother. Now, the weight of his mistake stood in his entryway. Guilt riddled his body and his gaze shifted toward the floor because he’d let her down.
The subtle scent of oranges and vanilla floated by him as she passed. The moonlight shining through the open window cast a silvery glow across her pinched face. He
clicked the deadbolt then flipped on the light before he sat on the sofa, waiting for her to join him. Her feet didn’t budge, but her gaze circled the room.
Maggie raised an eyebrow, her eyes blank. “I’m sorry I didn’t call first. I thought this discussion would be best in person. I can’t believe I had to search the internet to find your address.”
“I’m glad you’re here, and I should have given you my address. There’s no excuse for that…”
The tension in the room increased with every second of silence that followed.
“I-I don’t know what to think anymore. You might think I’m crazy or worse, have overreacted to drive all the way here.” Her voice sounded like sandpaper on wood.
Trent grabbed her hand and swiped his thumb softly across her knuckles. A rush of emotions flooded his system with that simple touch. He hated the strain emanating from her body. “Are you okay, Maggie?”
He released her hand and patted the spot next to him.
The cushions dipped as she sat, her gaze lingering on the room and surroundings. “Why do you have scaffolding outside? Did something happen to your home?”
Trent smiled and shook his head. “No, I just finished renovating the interior and have decided to upgrade my roof. What’s going on, Maggie?”
She turned to him, flashing a brief smile. “Good. I’m glad nothing bad happened to you. Could I have a glass of water?”
“You can have anything you’d like.” He meant those words and vowed to himself he’d prove it to her. “But you need to tell me what’s upset you. What made you drive all this way to find me?”
The single tear traveling down her cheek gutted him.
Her resolve and strength may have had her sitting beside him, holding herself together, but her vulnerability undid him. He tugged her body against his, to feel her warmth and
the pulse of her heart as he held her tight, to remind her she wasn’t alone to deal with whatever worried her. Even if his actions these last ten months told a different story.
A niggle of hoped bloomed in his chest when she hugged him back just as fiercely. This wouldn’t erase his absence from her life since the death of her brother, but maybe she’d see it as an olive branch to reconnect them to days long past. To the days when they were friends and all three of them spent time together.
When she sat back against the cushion, dark circles marred the delicate skin beneath her eyes. Trent’s mind whirled with a million questions. Had someone hurt her?
Had Maggie been with a man who threatened her? Why was she here? All of them remained unspoken because shame swamped his system. Not only was he a shitty person, but he’d broken a promise to his friend.
If only I’d taken out the shooter in the rafters, Dalton would still be here. Suffocated by the memories of that horrible day, Trent shot up off the sofa, desperately needing air and
space. “I’ll get you that water. When I return, how about you start from the beginning as to why you’re here?
Thank you, Bailey Thomas and RABT Book Tours
About the author
Bailey Thomas lives in the beautiful but hot southwest with her husband and their adorable four-legged children. An only child, Bailey’s active imagination and adventurous nature always kept her busy. Now, she channels those creative powers into storytelling.
Her wonderful husband encouraged her to chase her dream of becoming an author and continues to be her greatest champion. Being able to write these stories has been a thrilling experience that is truly special to her.
When she’s not behind a computer working on her next deadline, she’s reading her favorite authors, playing with her fur-babies, and spending time with her husband. They love to watch movies, sports and play all types of games.