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Freshly demoted and posted to a remote detachment in Newfoundland, Constable Avery Stone looks into the death of a disgraced RCMP officer and searches for buried evidence. His troubling investigation throws him into the path of Hannah Parker, the feisty deaf mother of a young boy.

To escape her past, Hannah moves into her grandfather's secluded cabin and glimpses his killers in the woods, but her credibility is damaged by recanted accusations. The birth of her fatherless son further tarnishes her reputation and hinders her ability to trust. When shadowy forces threaten her family, she is forced to rely on Avery.

Tangled in a web of deadly deceit, Avery seeks to protect mother and son while trying to retrieve the secrets long forgotten. Can Hannah recapture her past in time to save her only child and the rogue officer she's come to love?

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Considering Snowflake had already ventured outside twice this morning, Hannah suspected the presence of a visitor—an unwelcome visitor. She traded her laptop for the loaded rifle above the door, slid the latch, and unlocked the bolt.

Taking a few steps back, she aimed at the door and flicked the safety pin off. “Come in. Slowly.”

The door opened, and Snowflake jumped on the visitor.

“Easy, little—” The constable’s brown eyes widened as he looked in her direction and the words died on his lips.

To Hannah’s bewilderment, Snowflake ran back across the room, picked up her octopus fetch toy, and dropped it at Stone’s feet. In the best of time, the little female barely tolerated strangers. That she had instantly taken a liking in the officer baffled Hannah.

Stone straightened up, and though exhaustion marred his face, he looked ready to pounce or draw his own gun.

It took a few seconds for Hannah to realize his lips had started moving again. “What did you say?”

“I asked that you put the rifle down.” Stone articulated clearly, and she imagined his voice carrying through the cabin, deep and rich. “I got shot once. If it’s the same to you, I’d rather not repeat the experience.”

Something in his demeanor caught her off-guard. Maybe it was the lack of arrogance. Whatever it was, it prompted her to lower the rifle. “Come in, please, and close the door. It’s cold out.”

Once he stepped away from the entrance, she returned the rifle to the ledge. When she looked at him again, he had crouched down to play tug-a-war with Snowflake, the dog pulling on a purple tentacle while Stone held on to the head of the octopus.

“My son is sleeping. I would appreciate if you kept Snowflake from barking.”

“Snowflake? That’s a cute name. Does it carry a special meaning?” As soon as his lips began moving, he tilted his head up. He had probably been made aware of her disability, but she still appreciated the effort.

“She’s white and we found her on a snowy day in October. It seemed appropriate.” If Hannah had to rename the snowball, she would call her Blizzard.

“I’ll give her that, she’s one tenacious little thing on four legs.” As much as he shook the toy, Snowflake wouldn’t let go of it. “How’s your son, Hannah? Is he hurt?”

Intrigued by the use of her given name, she watched their game. “He has strep throat and a light fever, but he’s getting better. Why?” Surely Fred hadn’t sent an officer to monitor Rory’s recovery.

“I saw blood on the snow, and it trailed from your shed to the house. When you answered with a rifle, I thought something might have happened.” The ghost of a smile softened his chiseled face. “By the way, pointing a gun at a policeman is never a good idea.”

A fire she had extinguished long ago sparked embers in her belly, betraying her loneliness. “I had a visitor again last night.”

“Another note?” He let go of the octopus. When Snowflake retreated with it in front of the fireplace, he stood.

“Not a note. A fox.” His brows shot up, and she chuckled at the dubious look he gave her. “At least I can do something with a dead mammal. Let me check on my son, then I’ll show you.”

Once she ascertained Rory was fast asleep, she donned her winter coat and boots. With Snowflake guarding the house, she invited the constable to follow her outside. He towered over her by a head, but unlike Reed or Cooper, he didn’t look down at her.

“What brought you here this morning, Constable Stone?”

“I’ve been looking at the four notes, and I wanted to ask you a few questions.” His gaze traveled behind the shed where she had hung the animal to a nail by its hind legs. “Someone left you a bloody carcass?”

“Snowflake scratched at the door around 2:30 a.m. When I checked outside, I found the fox on the sill. As far as I could see, there was no one outside. I threw the body in the snow and cleaned the mess.” While Rory had seen many dead animals in his short life, their blood didn’t belong on the porch or the floor. “I’m not sure why, but I was expecting whoever tried to scare me to come back and pick it up, so I wouldn’t have any proof of the incident.”

Stone slowly nodded. “Someone wants you gone, Hannah. Any idea why?”

Over the winter, one reason had crossed her mind, but it couldn’t be. No one was aware of her secret.

AuthorJS Marlo

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