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Safe Haven: A Sweet, Small Town Romance

Safe Haven: A Sweet, Small Town Romance

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Safe Haven: A Sweet, Small Town Romance

Length:
315 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 27, 2016
ISBN:
9780994136602
Format:
Book

Description

Fans of Robyn Carr's Virgin River series will love this feel-good, small-town romance!

Hayley Elliott's sister has found a cure for Alzheimer’s and their mom is living proof that the supplement works. To keep everyone safe, Hayley has to return to Montana. But she can only do that with help from Tank—a man who’s living with a secret more heartbreaking than her own.

Tank has spent his life protecting people. He works for one of the most successful security companies in the world, makes more money than most people see in a lifetime, and has a past that no one can ever know about.

With more at stake than their own lives, Tank and Hayley have to decide what is more important—protecting the past or risking everything for love.

SAFE HAVEN is the first book in The Protectors Series and can easily be read as a standalone. Each of Leeanna's series is linked so that you can find out what happens to your favorite characters in different books. Happy reading!

Praise for Leeanna Morgan’s books:

“I am addicted to Leeanna Morgan's books! The only problem with them is that I hate coming to the end of one, and can't wait for the next good read. I love how she weaves the characters together and draws you right into their lives. If you haven't discovered her, please do give her books a try. You won't be disappointed, except for not having found her sooner!”

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I couldn't put it down. I purchased it today and finished it just now. Captivating story from beginning to end. Definitely a five-star book.”

Other Novels by Leeanna Morgan:

The Protectors:
Book 1: Safe Haven (Hayley and Tank)
Book 2: Just Breathe: (Kelly and Tanner)
Book 3: Always (Mallory and Grant)
Book 4: The Promise (Ashley and Matthew)

Emerald Lake Billionaires:
Book 1: Sealed with a Kiss (Rachel and John)
Book 2: Playing for Keeps (Sophie and Ryan)
Book 3: Crazy Love (Holly and Daniel)
Book 4: One And Only (Elizabeth and Blake)

The Bridesmaids Club:
Book 1: All of Me (Tess and Logan)
Book 2: Loving You (Annie and Dylan)
Book 3: Head Over Heels (Sally and Todd)
Book 4: Sweet on You (Molly and Jacob)

The Montana Brides:
Book 1: Forever Dreams (Gracie and Trent)
Book 2: Forever in Love (Amy and Nathan)
Book 3: Forever After (Nicky and Sam)
Book 4: Forever Wishes (Erin and Jake)
Book 5: Forever Santa: a Montana Brides Christmas novella
Book 6: Forever Cowboy (Emily and Alex)
Book 7: Forever Together (Kate and Dan)
Book 8: Forever and a Day (Sarah and Jordan)

Sapphire Bay:
Book 1: Falling For You (Natalie and Gabe)
Book 2: Once In A Lifetime (Sam and Caleb)
Book 3: A Christmas Wish (Megan and William)
Book 4: Before Today (Brooke and Levi)
Book 5: The Sweetest Thing (Cassie and Noah)
Book 6: Sweet Surrender (Willow and Zac)

Santa's Secret Helpers:
Book 1: Christmas On Main Street (Emma and Jack)
Book 2: Mistletoe Madness (Kylie and Ben)
Book 3: Silver Bells (Bailey and Steven)
Book 4: The Santa Express (Shelley and John)
Book 5: Endless Love (The Jones Family)

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 27, 2016
ISBN:
9780994136602
Format:
Book

About the author

Leeanna Morgan is a USA Today bestselling author. She lives in New Zealand surrounded by green hills on one side and the ocean on the other. She enjoys going for long walks, especially if she can convince her husband and two children to go with her!Leeanna writes contemporary romances set in Montana. Her books contain all of the things that are important to her; good friends, family, a strong sense of community, and a happy ending.


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Safe Haven - Leeanna Morgan

CHAPTER 1

S omeone’s found us, Sophie. Mom and I have to leave. Hayley looked across the manicured lawn of the dementia unit. She was in trouble. If anyone overheard her phone call to her sister, it could make her life even more difficult.

But you’ve only been in Fort Wayne for three weeks. They can’t have found you so quickly.

I don’t know how they found us in Indiana, but they’re here. Someone followed me when I drove Mom home from the library.

Are you sure they were following you? They could have been going in the same direction.

We were definitely being followed, but that’s not the only thing that happened. A man came into the nursing home this afternoon. He wanted to speak to Mom.

She heard her sister’s sharp intake of breath. Did he see her?

He didn’t get anywhere near her. There are strict rules about who can visit the patients.

But he knows you’re there?

Yes.

This isn’t good. Sophie sounded as worried as Hayley. Did you find out who he was?

He didn’t tell the receptionist anything about himself, apart from being a phony long-lost cousin. I tried finding someone who could access the security footage, but it’s Sunday. The admin staff won’t be here until tomorrow morning.

I’m sorry, Sophie said. I shouldn’t have said anything about the dietary supplement to my professor.

You’ve found something that could help people with Alzheimer’s. You had to tell him. It’s not your fault he couldn’t be trusted. We’re okay for now, but I’m not taking any chances. We’re leaving tonight.

Don’t leave until tomorrow morning. Someone followed me yesterday. I’ve spoken to the owner of a security company because I was worried about you. He’s sending one of his team to Fort Wayne.

Hayley focused on the vehicles in the parking lot. She wanted to believe Sophie, she really did. But after six weeks of being terrified that someone would find them, she’d had enough.

I don’t know if we’ve got time to wait for help.

You’re safer in the dementia unit than driving on the road.

I need to get Mom away from here. She took a deep breath and tried to calm her racing heart. A young woman crossed the parking lot and headed in her direction. I have to go. I’ll text you when I find somewhere safe to stay.

Hayley ended the call and walked swiftly across to Angelique. Were you able to download the security footage?

I can’t access it, but I’ve called in a favor from another staff member. He’ll be here in an hour.

Thank you. She hugged Angelique, grateful that she could trust her friend.

You’re welcome, but I don’t know why you can’t go to the police. You haven’t done anything wrong.

I can’t risk anything happening to Mom. The police won’t do anything until whoever’s following us breaks the law. She could get hurt while I wait for the police to do something.

Angelique walked back with her to the nursing home. What are you going to do?

Hayley looked at the building where she thought they’d be safe. Pack our bags and leave.

Tank looked at the exterior of Woodview, a nursing home on the outskirts of Fort Wayne. He didn’t usually meet clients at nursing homes, but it didn’t matter. It was no different from a consulate in Taiwan or a hotel in Kabul. When someone needed help, he was paid to look after them.

He glanced at the background information he’d been given. Hayley Elliott was a twenty-eight-year-old nurse who worked in the building in front of him. Her mother, Alice Elliott, was an advanced Alzheimer’s patient at the same facility.

His assignment was simple—bring them back to Montana.

Their seats were booked on the next flight out of Fort Wayne. When they arrived in Bozeman, he’d drive them to Emerald Lake. In five hours, Hayley would be drinking coffee with her sister and mom, sharing stories about their adventure in Indiana.

For him, it was a matter of case closed and onto the next one.

But Hayley Elliott obviously had other ideas. For the last few minutes she’d been throwing suitcases into her car. She was in a hurry.

He glanced at the other vehicles in the parking lot before getting out of his SUV. He didn’t want to scare her, so he made as much noise as he could.

She moved one of the suitcases around, then reached for her jacket.

He was only a few feet away from her, but she still hadn’t noticed him. It was no wonder she needed protection. He cleared his throat. Hayley Elliott? I’m—

She spun on her feet, her arm stiff and straight.

Damn. He twisted sideways, blocked her with his forearm, but not quick enough to miss the pepper spray aimed at his face.

The pain nearly blinded him. He moved forward, grabbing her as she ran around the side of her car.

Instead of pulling away, she stepped into his arms and kneed him in the groin.

He swore something fierce, turned her around and pushed her against the side of the car, trapping her between the cold metal and his aching body.

Let me go, she screamed. Help! I need help!

I am the help, he ground out. Your sister sent me.

Hayley didn’t stop twisting and turning. You’re lying. Get off me, you big oaf.

Your sister is Sophie Elliott. She works at Emerald Lake with Ryan Evans.

Anyone with half a brain could have looked that up on the Internet. Tell me something the rest of the world doesn’t know.

She’s discovered a treatment for people with Alzheimer’s. It’s not patented.

Hayley stopped moving. She sucked in a lungful of air. Keep talking.

John Fletcher owns the security company where I work. Your sister asked us to bring you and your mom back to Bozeman. If I didn’t think you’d spray me again, I’d give you my phone to call him.

She relaxed against her car. I don’t know who John Fletcher is, but I believe you.

Tank wasn’t taking any chances. He blinked hard, trying to force the spray out of his eyes. Where’s the pepper spray?

I don’t know. You knocked it out of my hand.

There was no point looking for it. He couldn’t see anything.

I’m sorry for spraying you.

He grunted. Kneeing me in the groin didn’t help, either.

Are you okay?

He let go of her wrists and stepped away from the car. My face feels like it’s on fire and other parts of my body aren’t much better. If he rubbed his eyes he’d be in even more pain. He leaned forward, resting his hands on his knees.

I’ve got some ice inside. You could…you know…

I’ll be okay, he muttered.

It will help with the swelling.

Tank didn’t want to think about what his body was doing. As soon as I can see, I’m taking you and your mom to the airport. We’re going to Bozeman.

Not on a plane, we’re not.

He bit back a reply. We’re flying to Bozeman tonight.

Mom can’t fly. She gets really agitated.

How agitated?

Enough for the airline staff to stop her getting on a plane. It’s her Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t like the noise the engines make.

Tank’s eyes narrowed. I’ll hire a private jet.

It won’t make any difference. Mom will have to be heavily sedated and with her health issues, it could kill her.

His five-hour time frame disappeared. Is your mom okay traveling in a car?

Yes.

He stood up and held back a groan. It looks as though we’re switching to plan B. We’ll drive to Bozeman.

Hayley sighed. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?

Tank frowned. He thought he did, but a five-foot-eight blond with a can of pepper spray had surprised him.

And that hadn’t happened in years.

Hayley squirted another cotton ball with baby shampoo.

This is ridiculous, Tank muttered. We’re wasting time.

Stop moving. You can hardly see out of your eyes. If we don’t dissolve the pepper spray, we’ll be here for a lot longer.

Alice, Hayley’s mom, came to inspect what she was doing to their bodyguard’s face. You smell lovely.

Tank opened his eyes and frowned.

Hayley bit back a smile. He did smell nice, but she wasn’t commenting on what he didn’t want to hear. Convincing him to sit still for long enough to remove the pepper spray had been hard enough. Agreeing with her mom would only make him more irritated.

She moved closer, wiping along his jaw as fast as she could. Can I ask you a question?

If it gets us out of here faster, sure.

What’s your name?

Tank.

Tank?

He nodded.

As in the large vehicle used by the Army?

Yep.

Do you have a last name?

Nope. He winced and closed his eyes as she ran the cotton pad across his nose. Have you finished yet?

Almost. Open your eyes.

He opened his clear blue eyes and glared at her. Someone’s looking for you. We need to leave.

Hayley handed him the bottle of baby shampoo. I agree—which is why you’re going to wipe your hands and neck while I finish getting Mom ready.

He took the shampoo and started scrubbing. We’ve got a long couple of days ahead of us. Take everything your mom will need. Where are your clothes?

In my car. I packed them earlier today.

Did anyone see you?

I don’t think so. She turned to her mom. Let’s go to the bathroom, Alice. She helped her mom walk across the room. We won’t be long, Tank. There’s one more suitcase in the bottom of Alice’s closet. After that, we’re ready to go.

Her mom patted her hand. You’re a good girl. Your parents must be very proud of you.

They are. She glanced at Tank, hoping he’d missed her mom’s softly spoken words.

He looked at her with the same deadpan expression he’d worn when she’d first introduced him to her mom.

She kept moving. My dad used to tell me that one day, my sister Sophie and I would change the world.

Her mom reached for the door frame, steadying herself for the next part of their journey to the bathroom. He sounds like a good father.

Tank pulled the case out of the closet. I’ll put this in my SUV and get the other bags out of your car. Where are your keys?

Hayley took them out of her pocket. The red button unlocks the doors.

I’ll be back soon.

Hayley nodded and turned to her mom. Ready?

What for, dear?

I’m taking you to the bathroom.

Her mom’s face creased into a frown. I don’t need to go to the bathroom.

We’ll be traveling in the car for a long time. Just try for me.

Where are we going?

We’re driving to Montana.

Alice looked around her room. Where did Tank go?

He went…you remembered he was here?

Of course, I remembered. He’s such a nice man.

Hayley’s eyes misted over. Most of the time her mom couldn’t remember what had happened two minutes ago. Remembering Tank was here, and his name, was important. Let’s go to the bathroom before he gets back.

Her mom shuffled forward. Is he taking us somewhere?

We’re going on a car ride, Alice.

The smile on her mom’s face made Hayley happy, too. Six months ago, her mom could barely move out of bed. The fact that she could now stand on her own and walk short distances was a miracle.

When Tank returned to her mom’s room, they were ready to leave.

Hayley looked at the wheelchair he pushed through the door.

We need to move quickly. He held out his arm to her mom and helped her into the seat. Bring the walker with you, Hayley. There’s enough room for it beside Alice.

With one last look around her mom’s room, Hayley followed him into the hallway.

Her mom waved at the other residents, looking for all the world like she was going for a Sunday drive. Apart from Tank and Hayley, there was only one other person in the nursing home who knew the truth.

As they passed the main reception desk, Hayley nodded at Angelique. After they left, she’d finalize her mom’s paperwork and let the nursing director know that Hayley wouldn’t be back.

As far as anyone else knew, they were going to live with relatives and enjoy the heat of a warm Florida summer.

She wished it were that simple.

Tank pulled into another lane, glancing in his rearview mirror for anyone who might be following them. For the last six miles, Hayley had been telling him about the nursing home and their life in Chicago. He listened to what she said and filled in the gaps with what her sister had told him.

Hayley sighed. You’re a regular chatterbox, aren’t you?

Tank almost smiled. In an odd, unintended way, he found her amusing. She was so different from her older sister, Sophie, that he wondered if they were really related.

Were you in the military?

He glanced at Hayley. Her mind constantly zigzagged between one subject and the next. What gave you that idea?

She turned toward him and grinned.

He looked back at the road, ignoring the pull of attraction between them. She was his client. He was here to do a job, not get sucker punched every time she glanced at him. The baby shampoo must have addled his brain.

You look like a soldier. Your no-frills hairstyle wouldn’t work on most men, but on you it looks cute.

Cute? He’d been called a lot of things in his life, but cute hadn’t been one of them.

You’ve got that whole Tarzan meets Rambo thing happening. Wide shoulders, square jaw, killer eyes, and short, dark hair that most women would want to run their hands through.

It was her dramatic sigh that made him glance at her. Do you enjoy annoying people?

Only the ones who don’t like talking, she said sweetly. It’s just as well this is a short-term assignment.

He didn’t bother replying.

How many days will it take to drive to Bozeman?

He glanced in his rearview mirror and Alice smiled back. Three. I need to be home by Wednesday night. Unless your mom wants to board a plane, we’ll spend most of that time in this SUV.

Mom’s got Alzheimer’s, Hayley whispered. Stopping every few hours might be okay for you and me, but not for her. She needs lots of bathroom stops and short walks.

We can’t do that.

If we share the driving we could go farther and have more stops.

No.

Why not?

Someone was following you in Fort Wayne. They could be behind us, waiting for an opportunity to take us off the road.

Hayley looked in her side mirror. I haven’t seen anyone so far.

It doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

But I’m a good driver. It makes sense to share the driving.

I don’t care how good you are. You’re not driving.

This could be the longest three days of my life, she muttered.

Tank was beginning to think the same thing.

My sister thinks the people following us work for a pharmaceutical company.

He didn’t reply. There wasn’t enough information to assume the people looking for them were from any company. From what Hayley’s sister had said, more than one person knew about the supplement she’d developed. It didn’t take much to work out what a potential cure for Alzheimer’s would be worth. If the formula got into the wrong hands, no one would be safe.

He checked the GPS, then looked at Hayley. Before I left Bozeman, Sophie said to ask you about the supplement. Does your mom have enough for the next few weeks?

Hayley frowned. I’ve got enough to last another two weeks. But we won’t need to use all of it—we’ll be in Montana in a few days.

I’m planning for a worst-case scenario. Where is the supplement at the moment?

In my black suitcase. I moved it so that it was under another bag in the back.

Whatever happens, we can’t let anyone near the supplement.

Sophie’s already warned me about that. She turned and glanced at her mom. Alice was looking through the back seat window. Have you done this a lot?

More times than I can count.

I guess that’s something.

It’s not all bad, he said to lighten Hayley’s mood. When you reach Bozeman, you’ll appreciate home-cooked meals again. Eating at roadside diners and gas stations for three days isn’t fun.

I never took you for a silver lining type of man. She picked up her bag and turned to her mom. Would you like to read a magazine, Alice?

That would be lovely. You drive very well, Tank.

Thank you.

Hayley hesitated before handing her mom the magazine.

For the next couple of miles, Hayley didn’t say much. She seemed lost in whatever thoughts were running through her head. By the time they reached their first stop, he could feel her anxiety, the worry of what might happen.

After their bathroom stop, it took more than ten minutes to get Alice back in the SUV. But at least Hayley seemed in a better mood when they returned.

She opened a brown paper bag. Muffin?

No thanks. I had coffee and something to eat while I was waiting for you.

Alice opened a similar bag in the back seat. I love surprises, she said with a smile. When she pulled out her muffin, she sighed. How did you know chocolate was my favorite?

Hayley turned to her mom. Someone told me. I hope you like it.

Tank looked in his rearview mirror.

Alice bit into her muffin. It’s delicious.

Hayley watched her mom for a few more minutes before turning around.

It will be okay, he murmured. Before you know it, we’ll be in Montana.

I hope so. She started eating her muffin but gave up halfway through. How do you keep working in stressful situations? I haven’t slept a full night since my sister left Chicago.

You get used to it, but some things stay with you forever. He thought about his military career, the assignments that still gave him nightmares. After spending a lot of time looking after Hayley’s older sister, he didn’t want this assignment to be one of those times.

Sophie said you were her bodyguard. Are you good at your job?

I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.

Have you ever killed anyone?

Tank gripped the steering wheel so hard his fingers turned white. Only when I didn’t have a choice.

Hayley’s eyes widened. How long were you in the military?

Twelve years. You see and do a lot of things that are hard to relate to once you’re home.

She nodded and reached for the hot drink she’d bought. A few years ago I worked at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. Some of the patients needed a lot of counseling for PTSD.

He knew all about post-traumatic stress disorder and how it could turn your life upside down. Seven years after he’d left the military, there were still times when he needed to disappear and focus on rebalancing his life. He was lucky he had a boss who understood and was happy to give him the time he needed.

Did my sister tell you how the patent application for her supplement is going?

He shook his head. I don’t know what’s happening. All I know is that she’s in a similar situation to you. Someone is trying to stop her from manufacturing the formula.

Hayley looked down at her hands. I worry about Sophie. When Dad died we were all devastated, but it seemed to hit her the hardest. When Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, our entire world collapsed. Sophie made plans to make sure Mom had the best possible care. We looked for any ground-breaking treatments that could help her, but there was nothing.

Is that when she started looking at other medicines?

Sort of, but not really.

He glanced at Hayley. Meaning?

She wasn’t looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s. Sophie was part of a research team at the University of Chicago. They were looking at alternative therapies for people with Down syndrome. Her focus was plant-based therapies. While she was working on that project, she realized there could be significant benefits for people with Alzheimer’s. Both genetic disorders are linked to the same chromosomes in our DNA. Her professor didn’t agree with her theory, so she stayed after work, experimenting with different combinations of medicinal plants. The supplement I’m giving Mom is the result of her research.

Do you know the formula?

He felt the weight of Hayley’s gaze.

No. She leaned forward and took her cell phone out of her bag.

What are you doing?

Texting my sister. I want to tell her we’re okay.

I’ve already called my boss. He would have called Sophie by now.

She’ll be waiting for my text.

Contacting her isn’t a good idea. He looked in his rearview mirror and changed lanes. Where did you get your phone?

I’ve had it for ages. I bought it when Mom’s Alzheimer’s got bad. Her caregiver called me if anything happened.

Have you ever lost your phone, then found it again?

I don’t think so.

Think again. It’s important.

Hayley put her phone on her lap. No one would have bugged my phone.

"You’ve been watching too many detective

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