Monday, May 6, 2013

Girl Three by Tracy March (Excerpt/Giveaway)

Today we have an excerpt from Tracy March's GIRL THREE!

Bioethicist Jessica Croft, estranged daughter of a federal judge, has avoided the players, power, and passions of Washington, DC. But when her sister’s suspicious death is classified as natural, Jessie resolves to expose the murderer. Pursuing elite suspects on both sides of the stem-cell-research debate leads her to security consultant Michael Gillette, who knows more about her sister than he’ll admit.
Michael has a vested interest in Jessie’s plight. Her sister died on his watch—while he wasn’t watching. His plan to find her murderer becomes complicated when Jessie’s father hires him to protect Jessie, and his interest turns from professional to romantic.
Jessie and Michael must unravel a mystery rife with political agendas and deceit. When confidential papers reveal a fertility scandal surrounding the enigmatic Girl Three, the two realize the danger of exposing the truth. Who is Girl Three? And will the murderer kill again to keep a secret?
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Jessie had timed her arrival to the minute—eleven a.m. Better to avoid needless preliminaries and an awkward obligation to sit with her father. The man in the overcoat, a representative from the funeral home, greeted her and opened the door. She stepped inside on tiptoes and her heart plummeted.

There were no mourning friends and no flowers. No music or sound except the thrum-and-swish of her pulse in her ears.
An elderly, black-robed minister stood at the altar, facing a lone person seated in the front row.
Her father.
He hadn’t mentioned that Sam’s service would be private.
She drew in a breath, the air thick with humidity and mildew, and choked back several curses. Foul names for her father flew through her mind, out of sync with the lulling cadence of the scripture the minister quoted. The words droned in the background of her frantic thoughts. She had stepped into the church and right into her father’s trap. It hadn’t occurred to her that she might face him alone, and she wasn’t sure she could.
Why subject herself to inevitable disappointment? He’d proven time and time again that he had no interest in being her father. Unable to focus, she sat through a generic eulogy and more scripture. The moment the minister began the benediction, she crept into the vestibule, reaching for the door as he said Amen.
Jessie tried to appear unaffected as her father strode up the center aisle with an authoritative swagger, carrying his briefcase at his side. He looked older than he had on television and in pictures she’d seen on the news. Yet the rest of him was the same—the uneven features that managed to captivate, the cleft chin. The tilt of his head, as if he were always judging, always looking for a reason to rule against you.
He stopped in front of her, too close, his once-familiar eyes never veering from hers. All this time, all these years, and yet in them, she saw no remorse. With the altar in the background, he looked even bigger than she’d made him in her mind.
“My daughter,” he said flatly. “The president’s darling du jour.”
He’s jealous. Jessie savored a fleeting moment of satisfaction.
“This isn’t about me,” she said. Her voice scraped in her throat. She caught herself trembling and tightened her grip on her purse. She turned to leave.
“Wait.” He stepped in front of her. “I need you to do a favor for your sister.” He looked toward the altar where a nondescript urn stood on a small table.
He set his briefcase on a pew, took out a thick white envelope, and handed it to her. “This should be all you need.”
“What’s in here?”
“Death certificates, an address, and keys to Sam’s townhouse.”
Jessie took a step backward. “Why are you giving them to me?”
“Settle Sam’s estate,” he said. “Everything you need is in that envelope or in her townhouse. Stay there while you’re in DC.”
Jessie’s mind swirled, brimming with reasons to refuse. Then she remembered that she didn’t need any. “No.” She shoved the envelope toward him. “It’s not my place to do that.” Her throat tightened. “Sam and I weren’t close anymore.”
He didn’t take the envelope.
“Sam and I weren’t close either.” He leaned in and whispered, “But let’s keep our business in the family.” He brushed past Jessie, his arm skimming her shoulder, and walked out the door.
She shivered against the rush of cold wind, clutching the envelope. Did she have the conscience to let the mystery of Sam’s death go unsolved? Someone had killed her sister. And someone believed in concealing a murder more than they believed in justice. Even though she had no power, and she’d made an unbreakable promise to Nina, Jessie planned to find out who.


Award-winning author Tracy March writes romantic thrillers influenced by her career in the pharmaceutical field, and her interest in science and politics. She also writes lighthearted romances inspired by her real-life happily ever after.Always up for travel and adventure, Tracy has flown in a stunt plane, snowmobiled on the Continental Divide, ziplined in the Swiss Alps, and been chased by a bull in the mountains of St. Lucia. She loves Nationals baseball, Saturday date nights, and Dairy Queen Blizzards—and rarely goes a day without Diet Coke and Cheez-Its.

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