3d Place - 2002 ERA Awards
2002 National Readers Choice Finalist
3rd Annual Orange Rose Finalist

ALWAYS FAITHFUL
by Catherine Snodgrass and Bryndis Rubin
Military Romance - Contemporary
October 2002
Amber Quill Press
1-59279-004-6 ebook
1-59279-992-2 print

When Staff Sergeant Rowan McKinley is charged with murder, she wants the best defense counsel the Marine Corps has to offer-Captain Phillip Stuart. Phillip swore he'd never have anything to do with the one woman who broke his heart, yet he doesn't hesitate to answer her plea for help. The love and passion each thought gone sparks to life, only now it is forbidden by military law. Knowing the rules and adhering to them are very different matters. But who should make the sacrifice when both are destined to soar to the tops of their ranks? The choice might just be taken from their hands, for there is a killer with just as much to lose. This is a man who will stop at nothing to protect his identity, even if that means threatening the one link between Phillip and Rowan-a son Phillip never knew she bore him.

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~ Reviews ~

ALWAYS FAITHFUL is a fast-moving, emotionally charged mystery that takes off like a jet plane. Rowan's toughness is a shell she's built to protect her heart from what she feels is Phillip's betrayal, while Phillip has devoted the past nine years to forgetting Rowan, becoming the best military lawyer he can be, and not letting anyone into his heart again. With nail-biting suspense and palpable sexual tension, ALWAYS FAITHFUL is an entertaining tale. Although the villain is fairly apparent from first introduction, there are some heart-stopping scenes at the climax. Great characters, a fresh plot, and a poignant love story make ALWAYS FAITHFUL a terrific way to spend an evening. ~ Romance Reviews Today, Jani Brooks

Very highly recommended!! Always Faithful is a melodrama of the finest kind - full of likeable characters and a plot that keeps twisting and changing, so you never know what will happen next! Rowan and Phillip are wonderful characters, and you find yourself rooting for them throughout the book. And carrying the book along is the ever-present murder mystery, a solid, 'who-dunnit?' that pulls the reader in and keeps you turning pages to find out what happens. The love story isn't bad either! Read 'Always Faithful', you won't be disappointed. ~Jennifer Macaire, Word Weaving

Intriguing romantic suspense--Highly recommended!!! Authors Catherine Snodgrass and Bryndis Rubin pen an intriguing romantic suspense in ALWAYS FAITHFUL. Rowan and Phillip's ethical dilemmas maintain the tension between them even as they fight to control their old attraction. Phillip's reaction to learning of his son is commendable in the way he immediately immerses himself in fatherhood even while he deeply resents Rowan's secret keeping. Current conspiracies soon come to mirror conspiracies of the past as they discover previous manipulations. A strong romantic suspense with the dazzling characterizations readers expect, ALWAYS FAITHFUL comes highly recommended. ~Cindy Penn, Word Weaving

FOUR STARS!!! ALWAYS FAITHFUL begins like a scene right out of CBS's JAG...plunges two strong characters into a fight for their love as well as for their lives. Readers of romantic suspense will enjoy this intriguing story. ~ Diane Burton, Scribesworld.

FIVE ANGELS!!! A wonderful tale of second chance at love. [The authors] get your attention and keep it there throughout until the ending....tale never drops to a boring part but filled with exciting words and a great plot. Definitely, this romantic suspense is recommended for r eaders of romantic suspense and for those looking for an author worth keeping her books to treasure. ~ Melinda, Fallen Angels Reviews

EXCERPT

From Charlie’s battered old truck, Staff Sergeant Rowan McKinley studied the steel warehouse building from every angle she could see. Not an easy task with all the security lights out. There wasn’t another person around or any sign of another vehicle. No activity whatsoever. Everyone and everything was tucked away for the night, as it should be at midnight.

She glanced at the man beside her. Night kept her from seeing his face clearly, but she knew it would be lit with excitement. For lack of a better term, she could almost smell the testosterone in the air. Or was that beer? She’d swear he’d been drinking, even if she didn’t want to admit that to herself.

As for herself, it was all Rowan could do to keep from shaking. What in the world had she been thinking to come here? She was a legal specialist, not an MP, not CID, and certainly not NCIS. Her stubborn determination to prove herself right had gotten her into this mess. A dangerous mess at that. And if Charlie had been drinking, she was even more stupid to get into a vehicle with him.

Rowan wiped her sweaty palms on her camouflage trousers. Her heart pounded so loud she’d swear he could hear it. Where were her priorities? She had a child to think about. Why should she care if someone was stealing government property? She reported her suspicions to anyone and everyone who would listen. Why in the world couldn’t she leave it at that? She’d done her duty.

But, no. Like a modern-day Don Quixote, she had to go tilting at windmills. All things considered, her sanity was just as questionable as that foolish old coot.

She studied the hulking building once more. No security lights. No guards walking their posts. It looked quiet enough, safe. It should have put her at ease, but it only set her nerves on edge.

"Charlie, I don’t like this. It doesn’t seem right. I think we should leave."

He laughed softly and gave her a playful slug in the arm. "You’re being silly." Drawing his pistol, he slid from the truck and silently made his way to the building.

Easy to be brave when you’re a walking giant.

Rowan frowned. The door wasn’t even locked. Now that was odd. Too easy. A trap? Possibly. And Charlie was too gung-ho or too inebriated to notice, or maybe he embraced the challenge, the danger, the rush.

Rowan glanced around. Here she was a sitting target.

She searched the floorboard for something to use as a weapon. Nothing, not even a floor mat. For one brief second she considered cranking the engine and getting out of there. Rowan dismissed the cowardly plan. She would not leave Charlie. They were safer together.

Curling her fingers around the doorknob, she shoved her shoulder against the truck door. It groaned as it opened, announcing her presence to anyone who might have doubted it before.

Crouching low, Rowan ran to the building and ducked inside. Darkness enveloped her. Pitch black. Smothering. Her heartbeat thudded in her ears. Panic clutched at her stomach. In vain she fought the claustrophobia, the overwhelming fear, the need to battle her way free, and the urge to scream out her frustration.

Arms wrapped around her midsection, she stood frozen and lost. She heard scuffling off to her right. There was a blur, a sense rather than sight of movement. Then pain shattered through her head.

 

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