Who Can You Trust? by Brenda Nyveld by Brenda Nyveld - Read Online

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Summary

Captain Ben Handler is on a mission. Find the gang responsible for the recent burglaries in Hunter's Mills and put them behind bars where they belong. When he receives a tip that one of the culprits might be hiding out at his best friend's summer cottage, he stakes out the place. He isn't prepared to meet Eddie Van Camp, his best friend's sister and aunt of the chief suspect. While he needs to find and arrest whoever is responsible for terrorizing his small town, he finds himself attracted to the number one suspect's lovely aunt. Eddie Van Camp has come to Hunter's Mills to find her nephew. As a counselor at a high school in the city, she has tried to keep her nephew on the straight and narrow. When he gets involved with the wrong crowd and suddenly disappears, she is certain she will find him in Hunter's Mills. When Ben Handler literally floors her, she finds herself struggling between her head and her heart. After all, Ben is another cop set on ruining a young man's life, not unlike the man she once loved and trusted. Ben implores her to trust him and while her body betrays her, her mind is set on saving her nephew no matter what the consequences are, even if the price is a broken heart.
Published: Whiskey Creek Press on
ISBN: 9781593742997
List price: $2.99
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Who Can You Trust? - Brenda Nyveld

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wisdom.

Chapter 1

Captain Benjamin Handler’s heart hammered as he braced his legs on the cold ground. He slowly pushed his heavy leather coat up over the gun in the holster on his right hip. He hoped he wouldn’t have to use it to defend himself, but years on the force in Toronto had taught him to be ready for anything.

With his left hand, he slowly opened the front door of the cabin and peered inside. He squinted in an effort to focus in the dark. He caught sight of movement in the area off to the right…what he knew was the kitchen. He stepped softly, his right hand never leaving the holster on his hip.

As Ben neared the door, he carefully looked inside. A shadowy figure moved toward him.

Police! he yelled as his body swung into action. He heard a startled cry as he landed on top of the figure and took it down to the floor.

The cry, not unlike that of a terrified woman, made Ben grin. The terror of Hunter Mill’s, the one who found people having to lock their doors at night, cried out like a helpless female.

When the perp stopped squirming beneath his weight, Ben pulled handcuffs from his back pocket. He ruthlessly pulled back one arm and cuffed him. You have the right to remain silent, he began.

A decidedly feminine voice cut him off. Like freaking hell I’ll remain silent!

Ben stopped and eased his grip slightly. The voice was definitely female but that didn’t mean he hadn’t just found the person responsible for the break-ins plaguing Hunter’s Mills for two months. While he always thought of the perp as male, there was no reason to believe a woman couldn’t be the criminal.

Ben hesitated in the dark. He simply couldn’t see the person he had just placed under arrest. However, he could feel lush curves beneath his weight. And given the sound of the voice, he had to admit, it was more than likely female. The wrist he pinned to the floor felt delicate.

Damn!

Get off me, you oaf. I can’t breathe!

Ben kept his hands on the woman’s wrists as he pulled his weight off her body. She gasped as he pinned them together over her head with one hand and reached for the flashlight in his coat pocket. He flicked the switch on the top of the light and pointed it down at the woman.

Her hair, long and flowing wildly over the dirty linoleum floor, danced in a ruby riot against the light. Surely her hair color was exaggerated in the glow from the flashlight. Her eyes, however, couldn’t be anything but real. Brilliant emerald eyes, like nothing Ben had ever seen before, gazed back at him with fiery rage.

Let me go, you jerk!

Ben struggled to remember he was an officer of the law and she, no matter how perfectly beautiful she was, may well be the reason everyone in and around town didn’t sleep well at night. He fought the urge to let up on her wrists.

Identify yourself, Ben ground out.

I don’t need to tell you who I am, she replied defiantly. I know my rights. You attacked me on private property. My brother is a lawyer—

Damn! Ben cursed. Jack’s little sister? He squinted as he looked down at her. Show me some ID.

I would but you have me pinned to the floor! She flailed against his grip.

Ben released her arms and slowly stood up. No sudden moves, he warned her.

She slowly stood up and wiped the dust off her jeans. I won’t move at all, she replied, pointing to the counter. My purse is right there and my wallet is inside. Help yourself.

Ben slowly backed to the counter and picked up the purse. He tossed it toward her. You open it slowly and hand me the ID.

She sighed, pulled the wallet from her purse and dropped it onto the floor. She held up her driver’s license and handed it to him. Happy now?

Ben glanced down at the picture and information on her driver’s license. Edwina Van Camp, twenty-nine years old, five foot six, one hundred and twenty pounds. Eyes: green. Hair: red. Address: 527 Hillside Crescent, apartment 717, Toronto, Ontario. It was all there.

Yet Ben had to grudgingly admit there was a lot missing. The license didn’t mention how her eyes smoldered when she was angry and the glint of her hair in the glare of a flashlight was a fiery red…and looked very silky. There was also no mention of the lush curves and soft, warm breasts he’d felt beneath him when he had her pinned to the cold floor.

Where the hell had that come from? Even if she was Jack’s sister, it didn’t mean she was an innocent woman. No matter how close he was to Jack Van Camp, he knew almost nothing about his little sister. She’d been mentioned in passing when Jack frequented the cottage with his wife and sons. But he had never met her and thereby, had been unable to judge her character. There was no reason to believe Jack’s little sister wasn’t behind the recent rash of break-ins.

What are you doing here? Ben asked as he handed the license back to her.

I’m looking for someone.

Who?

She frowned. I don’t have to tell you who I’m looking for. This is private property and my brother gave me permission to be here. Her eyes darkened slightly. You’re the one trespassing. You had no right to storm in here and accost me.

Ben remained undaunted. Who are you looking for?

Her voice rose in anger. I don’t have to tell you a damn thing!

Well, he had to admit, she was right.

Ben and his officers had been watching Jack Van Camp’s cabin in the hills over Hunter’s Mills for about a month. While Jack remained in touch with Ben, he hadn’t spent a single moment at the cabin since his wife abruptly left him three years before. He was left bitter and confused…and struggling to raise three sons on his own.

Since the cabin was in a remote area, very much on its own, Ben knew there was a very good chance whoever was responsible for the break-ins might well use it as a hideout. Especially since Jack informed him that his eldest son, Caleb, had left home and probably headed to Hunter’s Mills. For that reason, Ben and his officers kept the cottage under surveillance.

When Ben drove up to the cabin on his regular rounds that night and found the old, beat-up car parked outside it, he put two and two together. And, he thought wryly, he came up with zero. He fully expected to catch the person, or persons, responsible for the break-ins. Instead, he had attempted to arrest the younger sister of a renowned lawyer in Toronto.

Over the years since Jack had bought the cabin and spent his summers near Hunter’s Mills, he and Ben had become friends. While she had never come to the cabin, Jack spoke fondly of his little sister. There was nothing saying that Jack wouldn’t quickly turn his back on their friendship should his sister decide to sue.

Ben looked around the darkened kitchen. I guess you’re right, he admitted, you don’t have to tell me anything.

Edwina grinned victoriously. She folded her arms, drawing Ben’s gaze. Her breasts plumped ever so enticingly under her arms. Well thanks for that much.

Ben tore his gaze away from her chest. You can’t stay here tonight. You’ll have to call the power company tomorrow about having the electricity turned on.

Edwina sighed loudly. Her full ruby lips parted slightly and then pursed. I have a sleeping bag. I’ll be quite comfortable.

It’s early November, Ben said. Even if you managed to bring some wood in from the shed, it would be a risk to start the fireplace until you’ve had the chimney checked. It’s been over three years since Jack was here. God knows how many birds built nests in the flue in that amount of time. It has to be cleaned first.

Edwina appeared to consider his words. She bit her lower lip, her firm stance staggering just a little. Her chin went up as she said, Well, I have a sleeping bag. I’ll be just fine.

She wasn’t about to give in. He had to admit, he respected that. But there was no way he’d leave her in the cabin tonight. He pressed on, knowing his next words would cause her to reconsider.

If you’re determined to stay here tonight, I can’t stop you. I just hope the creatures that have probably taken over the cabin don’t bite.

Edwina’s chin quivered. Bite?

Ben shrugged. Spiders, rats, that kind of thing. This place hasn’t been lived in for a long time. God knows what will crawl into your sleeping bag overnight. Personally, Ben thought of himself crawling in beside her…

Edwina hesitated. Well, maybe a motel room for the night is a good idea.

Ben grinned. A wise decision. He started for the door. You can follow me into town. There’s a motel on Main Street I’m sure you’ll find comfortable. As he walked toward the door of the cabin, he turned to look at her. Right this way, Edwina.

My name is Eddie, she said as picked up her overnight bag and walked past him and through the door. Don’t ever call me Edwina.

Ben grinned as he watched her hips sway. Cute name, it suited her. Whatever you say, Eddie. I’m Ben Handler…Captain Ben Handler.

* * * *

Could things get any worse? After she struggled to get away from the high school on time, it quickly grew dark as she drove from Toronto to Hunter’s Mills. Her 1988 Ford Escort chugged along the highway heading north, acting as though it would die at any moment. She breathed a sigh of relief when she finally found the driveway to her brother’s abandoned cabin.

Jack had been trying to raise his three sons alone after his wife abruptly left him three yeas ago. His eldest son, Caleb, struggled more so than his younger brothers.

Eddie was a counselor at the high school Caleb attended. She had tried to reach out to her nephew several times but the boy simply wanted nothing to do with her. Eddie’s heart ached for him. She wanted to help.

Caleb had been in trouble with the law a few times, mostly misdemeanors, shoplifting, vandalism. When he started disappearing on weekends with some of his buddies two months ago, Eddie feared the worst. Jack couldn’t stop the boy from leaving each and every Friday night and secured little information upon his return late Sunday.

Eddie had a feeling Caleb and his buddies were going up to Jack’s cottage on weekends. She had come here to find him and, hopefully, talk some sense into the kid.

And so, when she pulled her car up to the cabin, she was met with disappointment. It seemed Caleb hadn’t come to the cabin. She went inside and was just about to settle in for the night when she was attacked.

She had yet to get a good look at the man. His strength had terrified her as he pinned her to the cold kitchen floor. But oddly enough, she knew he wouldn’t harm