IN HIS SAFEKEEPING by Shawna Delacorte
Harlequin Intrigue
March 2002 original print release
May 15, 2012 reissue in ebook
Original Print ISBN: 0-373-22656-X
ebook ISBN: 9781459243101
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Available at: for Nook Books
Available at: for Kindle

One by one the government witnesses who'd testified against a mob associate began to die—and now Tara Ford was the last witness remaining. Suddenly with a killer shadowing her every move, she was forced to rely on the protection of U.S. Deputy Marshal Brad Harrison—a man whose take-charge attitude made her temper flare and whose strong sensuality made her heart race.

Brad never let emotion interfere with duty. But in close proximity with all-too-sexy Tara, he forgot all the rules. His instinct to keep her safe was as basic as his desire for her. And when he held her tenderly, he couldn't help but wonder who posed the most immediate danger—the killer or Brad's charge.



Romantic Times
March 2002 (original print release date)

"Someone is out to kill Tara Ford, and Deputy U.S. Marshal Brad Harrison wants her IN HIS SAFEKEEPING. Amid explosions, bullets and danger, love slowly begins to blossom. But can Brad save Tara from an enemy that seems to be one step ahead of him? Shawna Delacorte creates excitement in this action-packed tale."


Read G-rated Excerpt inside front cover
Read Excerpt #1 (G-rated)
Read Excerpt #2 (PG-rated)
Read Excerpt #3 (G-rated)
Read Excerpt #4 (PG-rated)


G-Excerpt (inside front cover excerpt):

"We need to get something clear right now, Tara." Brad's words were very matter-of-fact, his attitude all business. "I expect to have my instructions obeyed without hesitation or questions. Your life could depend on your immediate response to my orders."

Tara glared angrily at him, but he stood his ground and refused to back down. Brad Harrison had her confused. He was a virtual stranger who had burst uninvited into her world, tried to take control of her life and demanded that she trust him. Yet his unwavering gaze sent a ripple of desire through her body unlike anything she had ever experienced. There was a lot more at stake here than a question of control.

Every time he touched her, a sensual rush coursed through her body. It was totally inappropriate for the situation and equally out of character for her. But for reasons she could not clearly fathom, she had made the decision to tentatively trust this very sexy and desirable man. Hopefully it would not be the biggest mistake of her life…or worse yet, the last decision she would ever make.



A car pulled into the driveway, drawing Brad Harrison's attention back to the house he had been watching. The woman climbing out of the car matched his photograph of Tara Ford and then some. The photo definitely did not do her justice. For one thing, it was only a head shot and didn't reveal the fantastic body that went along with that gorgeous face. He scanned her personal information in his file—twenty-nine years old, fine foot seven, auburn hair, hazel eyes and not married.

He watched as she bent over to retrieve the sack of groceries from the trunk of her car. Her tailored slacks hugged the curve of her hip without being obvious and the soft knit of her sweater rested gently against her breasts. He took a deep breath to break the tightness that pulled across his chest, but it didn't help much.

She was certainly beautiful, but that didn't tell him how she got involved with John Vincent. Was she really the innocent bystander she claimed to be or was she…

He snapped to attention, quickly dismissing his personal thoughts and becoming all business when he saw her nervously glance up and down the street. He unzipped his jacket for easy access to the 9mm semiautomatic handgun, but did not remove it from the clip-on belt holster. Her gaze fell on him for a second or two, causing him to crease his forehead in concentration. She appeared to be searching for something, her apprehension marring her delicately sculpted features. It was not the type of thing he would expect from someone who didn't have any worries.

The tension knotted in his stomach as he continued to watch her house. The uncertainty of how to proceed weighed heavily on him. The last remnants of daylight faded. He had seen everything he could. He started his car and slowly pulled away from the curb with his headlights off.

Tara Ford cautiously peeked out from behind the mini-blinds at the kitchen window. The man who had been sitting in the car parked across the street was gone. She wished she had gotten a better look at his face, but was afraid to stare for fear he would suspect she had noticed him. For the past few weeks she had been plagued by an uncomfortable sensation that someone was watching her, but this was the first time she had actually seen who it might be.

She wanted to believe it was her imagination, a residual effect from the turmoil of being one of the key witnesses at John Vincent's trial. Her portion of the testimony dealt with information she had discovered while employed by Green Valley Construction—the looting of his company's pension fund and the income he had hidden from the Internal Revenue Service. But the testimony of other witnesses showing his bookmaking operation, loan-sharking and ties to organized crime had come as a complete surprise to her. That had been six months ago. John Vincent had been convicted and sent to prison. For a while everything seemed to be okay. She thought she had put the nightmare behind her. A little tremor of anxiety rippled across her skin. She wasn't so sure anymore.

The ringing phone startled her out of her thoughts. She placed her hand on the receiver, then froze as a shiver of trepidation darted up her back. She was sure it was another of those calls where someone was there but no one said anything. She had been plagued with a rash of them over the past few weeks. On the fifth ring she finally picked up the receiver. The apprehension churned in her stomach before she could even say anything.

"Hello." She heard someone breathing. She spoke louder, trying to force a calm control to her voice. "Hello…is anyone there?"

"Tara…it's Danny."

The shock left her momentarily speechless. Danny Vincent. John Vincent's thirty-four old nephew—and her ex-fiancé.

An odd combination of irritation and relief passed through her. It wasn't her anonymous caller, but it was the last person she wanted to hear from. Her displeasure forced its way into her voice. "How did you get my unlisted phone number?"


G-Excerpt #2:

He didn't know who he could trust or where he could turn for help in protecting the one remaining witness. And running beneath all that was an ever-increasing attraction to this beguiling woman who didn't seem to have any idea just how attractive and tantalizing she was. He reached out and lightly touched her cheek, allowed his fingertips to linger for a brief moment, then quickly withdrew his hand. He grabbed his jacket from the foot of the bed and pulled it on.

He turned toward her, brushed his fingertips gently against her cheek, then placed his hands on her shoulders. "Tara…" He plumbed the depths of her eyes. She exuded a fascinating combination of inner strength wrapped in vulnerability that did not diminish the sensual pull she exerted on him. He drew her closer, almost an involuntary gesture. "Get some sleep tonight and try not to worry. Everything is going to be all right. I'll stop by first thing in the morning and bring you some breakfast."

And then the desire he couldn't stop, an impulse he couldn't resist. He leaned his head toward hers and brushed a soft kiss against her mouth. It was all he had intended to do, just a quick gesture. But the moment his lips touched hers he knew he wanted far more. He captured her mouth and immediately felt her body stiffen, but she did not pull away from him. A moment later she responded to his kiss, sending an earthy sensuality through him and igniting every nerve ending in his body. He hadn't known what would happen when he gave in to his desires, but this certainly exceeded any expectations on his part. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her body against his as the kiss deepened.

The breath caught in her throat and her heart pounded. He had caught her completely off guard, literally sweeping her away on a heated wave of exhilaration. As handsome, sexy and desirable as she found him it never crossed her mind that he would try to kiss her. It seemed so out of place considering the circumstances, but she couldn't have stopped him even if she'd wanted to. And wanting to stop him was the last thing on her mind. She had never had anyone convey such a level of sensuality with just a kiss.

It was Brad who came to his senses and finally broke off the delicious kiss in an attempt to cool down the burning desire churning deep inside him. He took a step back as he tried to catch his breath. He cupped her face with his hands. A slight flush spread across her cheeks. Her hazel eyes sparkled. His gaze dropped to her slightly parted kiss-swollen lips. He wanted more, so much more, but he knew he didn't dare.


G-Excerpt #3:

Tara squirmed awkwardly in her chair trying to find a more comfortable position. She didn't know what to say, or more accurately how to say it. She should have told him, but it had been a long time ago. It hadn't seemed relevant—until now. "Uh…well, I guess I know Danny pretty well. I was, well, I was engaged to him for a while."

She saw the shock dart through his eyes. She hastened to offer an explanation before he had an opportunity to say something. "But it's been over for a long time. I broke off the engagement about three years ago, shortly after he went on the company payroll, and haven't had any personal connection with him since that time…just the strictly business situations when he was in the office." She scrunched up her mouth, not sure how much she should say. The words came out softly, almost as a whisper. "Until a few days ago."

"A few days ago?" He tried not to show any personal reaction to this startling piece of new information, but hadn't been able to keep the edge out of his voice. "What happened a few days ago?" He now had something he didn't have before and that something was a motive for considering Tara a suspect. A sick feeling swept through him as he considered the reality. Once she knew there was a deputy marshal interested in what was happening, she could have easily worked with Danny to stage the bombing of her car in an attempt to throw him off the track. He didn't like where his thoughts were going, but he had to reluctantly admit that her involvement was now a real possibility.

"I hadn't seen Danny or heard from him since the day I quit Green Valley Construction, the same day I agreed to testify against John. Then a few days ago I got a phone call from him."

"Did he say why, after all that time, he had suddenly decided to give you a call?"

"He said it had taken him all that time to track me down and get my unlisted phone number. I asked him if he was the one who had been following me and making anonymous phone calls—"

Brad's words spilled out along with his surprise, irritation and even a hint of anger. "What anonymous phone calls?" He fixed her with a hard stare. "Why didn't you mention any of this when I asked you about strange occurrences?" He fought to keep the skepticism out of his voice, but knew he was not very successful. "You didn't consider anonymous phone calls as being anything unusual?"



G-Excerpt #4:

Brad heard the sound of the broken muffler before he saw the car, the same black car with the dark-tinted windows they had done battle with the day before. With a screech of tires and the roar of a powerful engine, the mysterious car leaped forward, rapidly closing the distance to the spot where they stood.

A fraction of a second was all it took. The car window went down. A figure behind the steering wheel dressed entirely in black and wearing a ski mask extended an arm and aimed a gun in their direction.

"Duck!" Brad pushed Tara to the pavement behind a parked car then dived for cover as he reached inside his jacket for his gun. A shot rang out, ricocheting off the concrete with a loud ping. A second shot and then a third followed before the black car sped out of the parking lot and down the street toward the harbor and ferryboat dock.

Brad jumped to his feet, yelling at Tara over his shoulder as he charged across the parking lot. "You stay here."

He ran out into the street, gun drawn and the safety off. He came to an abrupt halt. A raging frustration coursed through his body as he stood in the middle of the street and watched helplessly as the car disappeared around the corner. A quick glance around told him there weren't any witnesses to what had happened. Being the off season, the island population had drastically decreased. He holstered his gun and returned to the parking lot…only he didn't see Tara.

He ran toward the car where he had shoved her out of the way. He froze in his tracks. The acrid taste of fear filled his mouth. She lay on the ground where he had left her, a red smear of blood on her forehead.