Dec 22 2016 12:52pm
HelenKay Dimon Excerpt: The Fixer
He’s known only as Wren. A wealthy, dangerously secretive man, he specializes in making problems disappear. A professional fixer, Wren hides a dark past, but his privacy is shattered when Emery Finn seeks him out—and what she wants from him is very personal.
Some people disappear against their will. Emery’s job is to find them and bring closure. Wren is the only person who can help solve Emery’s own personal mystery: the long-ago disappearance of her cousin. Just tracking down the sexy, brooding Wren is difficult enough. Resisting her body’s response to him will prove completely impossible.
Anonymity is essential to Wren’s success, yet drawn by Emery’s loyalty and sensuality, he’s pulled out of the shadows. But her digging is getting noticed by the wrong people. And as the clues start to point to someone terrifyingly close, Wren will have to put his haunted past aside to protect the woman he loves.
Get a sneak peek at HelenKay Dimon's The Fixer (available December 27, 2016) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.
Wren waited two whole days before going back to the coffee shop. Not exactly a cause for congratulations. He spent the time doing what he needed to do—work—and gathering all the intel he could on Tiffany. The latter took him down a hole that he had some difficulty crawling out of.
He hated unanswered questions. He didn’t have to guess what it felt like to live with uncertainty because he knew all too well. Not many people could claim an expertise in living with the open-ended loss of someone close. It was a pretty shitty club to join and the membership was purely involuntary and unending. The fact Emery shared that secret knowledge and dealt with that level of unrelenting pain just sucked.
That’s why he was in the coffee shop, standing at the back of the line while his driver waited a few doors down. He tried to blend in, which he knew was not his forte. He was not a head-down, stare-at-his-shoes type, but he worked those unused skills now. The last time he made eye contact in this particular store he wound up admitting at least part of his name to a stranger. The same stranger he hoped to see here again today, but if she stuck to her usual schedule she wouldn’t come in for another twenty minutes.
As soon as he finished the thought he felt a presence looming next to him. His head shot up and he looked right into Emery’s big brown eyes. He beat back the need to blink. She’d snuck up on him, which was not something that happened . . . ever.
She held out her hand. “Here.”
He looked at the white cup with the name Brian scrawled on the side and tried to figure out the chances she planned on poisoning him. “What is it?”
She shook it at him. “Black coffee. You seem like a nothing-fancy, no-sugar kind of guy.”
Right on the first try. Not bad for a woman he’d met all of three times.
He took the coffee and followed her to the small bistro table in the back. Took the seat by the wall. She didn’t seem nervous or upset, and he had no idea what to make of that.
“I feel like you’re trying to tell me something,” he said.
“If I want to tell you something, I will.” She looked two seconds away from rolling her eyes.
She also looked a bit too sexy for his peace of mind in her khaki-colored pantsuit with a pink shirt. Something about the shade lit up her face. The bounce in her walk, the hair around her shoulders, the smirk when she got the drop on him and handed over the coffee. She appealed to him in a raw want-to-abandon-his-responsibilities-and-fuck-her kind of way, which was just about the last thing he needed.
She sat there and toyed with her cup. Spun it around between her palms as she watched him. “Why are you here?”
He thought about coming up with an excuse but abandoned the idea. Emery didn’t strike him as the type to buy nonsense talk. “I realized that the last few times we met I may have acted a little—”
“Arrogant. Annoying. Dickish.”
She seemed to have those descriptions ready to go.
He preferred to use one of his own. “Bossy.”
“Wow, that wasn’t even in my top ten, even though it fits.” She shifted her chair to the right when someone pushed past her on the way to the bathroom. “I like my list better.”
He didn’t doubt that. “I’m not normally one who goes back and rethinks his actions.”
“Are you one who apologizes?”
She sounded serious, so he gave her an honest answer. “Hardly.”
“I figured.” She leaned in with her elbows on the table. “So, tell me the truth. Did the senator make you come find me?”
“It’s interesting you think anyone can make me do anything.” No one had ever accused him of that before. “I thought maybe the two of you were . . .” She waved a hand in the air.
He had no clue what that meant. “Yes?”
“I actually don’t. Finish the sentence.” He pushed his cup to the side and leaned on his edge of the table. The move put them within easier whispering distance, though neither of them had lowered their voices all that much. He just sensed it was coming.
Then there was the part where he could smell her. Not sugary or like vanilla. This was something more sultry. A light touch of a floral scent, but with a bit of musk. It filled his head.
“I thought you might be together,” Emery said.
He wasn’t clear how he felt about the comment. It seemed to suggest he lacked fidelity, or the senator did. “I’m not sure her husband would approve of that.”
“Hey, I don’t care what consenting adults do in their private time. I’m not judging.” This time she held up both hands in what looked like some sort of disingenuous mock surrender. “In fact, if you were together in that way she might have some sway over you and get you to actually answer one of my questions.”
He was intrigued by how her mind worked. She made connections and looked for angles. Good skills, but this time her instincts or whatever was guiding her had misfired. He liked and respected the senator. He met her in the first place through her equally successful law partner husband.
Wren had received work from both of them and continued to cultivate both contacts. He did not fool around with married women and he couldn’t really see the senator cheating. “No.”
Another bathroom goer bumped into the side of her chair. This time she picked it up and moved it until she sat almost next to him, only a few feet away. “You’re going to need to be more specific with that answer. We seem to have several comments flying around. What are you answering?”
“No, I’m not with the senator in any way except having worked with her.” He moved both of their coffee cups out of spilling range. “And no, she did not send me.”
“You just happened to be in this coffee shop again today.”
“I came to find you.” Which seemed obvious to him since he already told her that.
“But not apologize.”
Emery could keep trying, but he had no intention of saying he was sorry. He wasn’t. “I fear we’re spinning in circles.”
She stared at him. “The way you talk is endlessly fascinating. Annoying as hell, but also fascinating.”
He had no idea how to respond to that, so he skipped ahead to his point. If he didn’t finish this soon, his driver and probably Garrett would come storming in to find him. “I wanted to make sure you understood the facts.”
“I didn’t know your cousin. I certainly didn’t kidnap her and I don’t know who did. I wasn’t anywhere near the DC area when she was taken.”
The main points, all of which pointed to him as being innocent, which he was. He lived back and forth between Michigan and Massachusetts at the time. He’d never even heard Tiffany’s name until Emery gave it to him.
She tapped her fingernails against the tabletop. “Why was your name in Gavin Younger’s file?”
The clicking echoed in his brain. “You mean your uncle. This is a family matter for you.”
“I see you’ve been busy digging around in my personal business. How charming.”
He couldn’t exactly deny it, so he didn’t try. “I have no idea why he had my name but, and here’s my actual reason for talking to you today, I intend to find out.”
“It’s what I do.”
“I’m still unclear on the category of what it is you do as an actual job.”
He glanced at her fingers, hoping she’d get the point and stop. Somehow the sound rose above the murmur of conversation in the packed shop. He didn’t even know how that was possible. “I fix things.”
“Ah, yes. You’re all about the fixing.” She sat back in her seat and put her hand on the back of his chair, right by his shoulder. “But answer one question.”
The sudden closeness had his mind racing to other topics. “Possibly.”
Then she shifted again and now their legs touched. She just kept moving. It was as if energy kept pinging around inside of her, pushing her to stay in motion. It was driving him crazy. Not annoyed crazy. No, not that at all. A different kind of crazy . . . the kind that came with bad decision making.
Copyright © 2016 by HelenKay Dimon.
Learn more about or order a copy of The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon, available December 27, 2016:
Helenkay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a . . . divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over thirty novels, novellas, and shorts to numerous publishers. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues, and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But if you ask her, she'll tell you the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose again.