Book Spotlight (and a Giveaway!): One Wrong Move by Dani Pettrey

Posted February 24, 2024 by meezcarrie in Christian, contemporary, Dani Pettrey, giveaway, mystery/suspense, romance / 9 Comments


One Wrong Move excerpt

One Wrong Move by Dani PettreyONE WRONG MOVE by Dani Pettrey
SERIES:
Jeopardy Falls #1

GENRE: Romantic Suspense (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: February 6, 2024
PAGES: 393

Taunting riddles.
A deadly string of heists.
Two broken hearts trapped in a killer’s game.

Christian O’Brady was pulled into a life of crime at a young age by his con artist parents. Now making amends for his corrupt past, he has become one of the country’s foremost security experts. When a string of Southwestern art heists targets one of the galleries Christian secured, he is paired up with a gifted insurance investigator who has her own checkered past.

Andi Forester was a brilliant FBI forensic analyst until one of her colleagues destroyed her career, blaming her for mishandling evidence. She now puts those skills to work investigating insurance fraud, and this latest high-stakes case will test her gift to the limit. Drawn deep into a dangerous game with an opponent bent on revenge, Christian and Andi are in a race against the clock to catch him, but the perpetrator’s game is far from finished, and one wrong move could be the death of them both.

 

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One Wrong Move book review


Christian’s hands gripped the rock face. Granules abraded the tender flesh beneath his nails, leaving them raw. Pushing up on the ball of his foot, he strained, his fingers searching for the crag. Finally, his hand landed on the cold surface—­only three inches deep. On a sharp inhale and slow exhale, he lunged upward—­only the slightest hold kept him from the hundred-­foot drop to the forest below. His foot landed on the next hold, and he settled, his muscles hot in the brisk dawn air. Blood throbbing through his fingers, he shifted the weight onto the balls of his feet.

Mapping the next route in his head, he leaped for the next hold. Air replaced the solid rock for the breath of a second, and searing adrenaline crashed through him as the hold slipped away. His pulse whooshing in his ears, he slid down, finally grabbing hold of a crag on his rapid descent. His fingers gripped hard—­the only thing holding his body weight and keeping him from the ground far below.

He examined the cliff, looking for a foothold. Something. Anything. Adrenaline raked through him, quivering his arms. Not good. Time held motionless until he anchored his foot on a narrow ledge, small rocks shifting under the soles of his climbing shoes. He kept his weight on the ball of his foot while scanning for a new route up. He exhaled as he found it, but it was going to require another leap of faith.

Releasing his hold, he lunged for a more solid handhold. Gripping it, he worked his way up to another ledge—­this one deep enough to settle comfortably onto.

His breathing quickened by the climb, he turned and pressed his back against the volcanic rock—­cool against his heated and perspiring skin—­and exhaled in a whoosh. Talk about a close one. He smiled. One more adventure down.

He held for a moment, taking in the morning light spreading across what seemed an endless sky. Man, he loved this view. Narrow shafts of sunlight streamed down through the early morning fog, lighting the yellow-­and-­orange foliage ablaze. Everyone talked about the beautiful fall colors in New England, but for him nothing beat fall in New Mexico, and it was peak season.

He sank into the silence. Only the occasional chirping of birds in the trees below rushed by his ears on the stiff, mounting breeze.

The brilliant orange sun rose higher above the horizon, its rays glinting off the rushing water of the swift creek at the bottom of the valley—­chasing away the fading chill of night and replacing it with renewed warmth of the coming day.

“Ain’t Worried About It” broke the silence with its melody. Who on earth was calling so early? He prayed nothing was wrong. It was the only reason he kept his cell on him while climbing—­in case there was an emergency and his family needed him.

He shimmied the phone from the Velcro pocket on his right thigh and maneuvered it to his ear without bothering to look at who was calling. “O’Brady.”

“I need you here now!” Tad Gaiman’s voice shook with rage.

Why on earth was Tad calling him so early? Why was he calling him, period?

Tad’s heated words tumbled out. “My gallery’s been robbed!”

“What?” Christian blinked. There was no way. The security system upgrades he’d installed made it impenetrable, or so he’d thought.

“Do you hear me? My gallery has been robbed!”

“I do.” He kept his voice level. Tad was frantic enough for the both of them. “Which gallery?” The man owned three.

“Jeopardy Falls.”

The one in their hometown? Crime was nearly nonexistent in their small ranching, lately turned tourist, town of five hundred. “Take a deep breath and calm down so you can focus.”

“Calm down?” Tad shrieked, and Christian held the phone away from his ear. Even his sister Riley couldn’t hit that high of a pitch. “Did you not hear me? My gallery’s been robbed.”

“I hear you. Let me call you back.”

“Call me back? You cannot be serious!”

“I’m balanced on a ledge on Manzano.”

“Of course you are.” Tad scoffed.

“I’ll call you when I’m on the road.”

“And how long will it take you to get here? This is a DEFCON 5 situation.”

Christian shook his head. Clearly, Tad had no idea what he was talking about. DEFCON 5 meant peacetime.

“Christian! How soon?”

“I need to climb down and make the drive back to town. I’ll see you in an hour.”

“An hour!”

“We’ll talk through it on my way in.”

Scaling down the rock face as fast as he could, Christian reached his vintage Bronco.

Climbing inside, he clicked on the Bluetooth he’d installed. It’d cost a lot, but in his line of work, he needed to be able to talk while on the road chasing down a case. He shook his head, still baffled that anyone had beat the security system.

He dialed Tad.

Normally his drive along the winding dirt roads through the mountains was calming, but not today.

Tad picked up on the third ring.

“Okay,” Christian said, swiping the chalk from his hands onto his pants—­the climbing towel too far to reach. “Walk me through it. Did the alarm go off?”

“The one on the security system you said couldn’t be beat? No!”

Christian took a stiff inhale. How on earth had someone gotten through the door without the key fob? The fob . . . “Tad, do you have your key fob?”

Silence hung thick in the air as Christian’s Bronco bumped over the ruts in the dirt road, the drop-­off only inches from his tires. He rounded the bend, and the road—­if it could be deemed one—­widened. “Tad?” he pressed.

“Okay, fine. I don’t have it.”

“Where is it?” Christian asked as he headed for the main road that led back to Jeopardy Falls.

Tad swallowed, the slippery, gulping sound echoing over the line. “I think the woman I spent last night with after the gala took it.”

“Riley mentioned she might attend the gala, but she couldn’t make it.”

“It was well attended.”

“And the woman you mentioned?”

“I met her at the gala.”

“She’s not local?”

“I’ve never seen her before last night.”

“So she just strolled into the gala?”

“Yes. It was a semiprivate affair. I sent out invites but welcomed anyone, given it was Friday Night on the Town.”

Their small town had instituted the night on the town for one Friday a month about a year ago, and it had really drummed up business for the eclectic downtown shops.

“Let’s shift back to the gallery,” Christian said. “I’m assuming you used Alex’s fob to get into the building?”

“No. I can’t get in.”

“Why not?” Christian pulled out onto the paved road.

“I can’t reach Alex, despite the fact she’s supposed to open this morning.”

“Okay . . . so walk me through what happened with the fob.”

“I woke up and that . . . woman was gone, and the fob wasn’t where I’d left it. I searched my place, but it’s not there, so I rushed to the gallery. I stopped at Alex’s place on the way, but no answer. She is so—”

“Settle down, Tad. Let’s think this through. Do you think Martha would let you into Alex’s place if you explained the situation?” Maybe the landlady would understand. Jeopardy Falls was a small enough town where everyone knew everyone, which was still taking time for him to get used to. To be known. Well, known at what he was willing to show, which wasn’t much.

“I’m not leaving my gallery. Not until I get inside and see what damage is done. You get the fob from Martha.”

Christian furrowed his brows. “If you can’t get in the gallery and the alarm didn’t go off, how do you know it’s been robbed?”

“Because I can see the three front cases through the porthole windows in the door. They’re open and empty.” A sob escaped Tad’s throat, though he tried to cover it with a cough.

Christian exhaled. “All right. I’ll call Martha, but she might not feel comfortable letting us in.” It was a lot to ask. “Actually, I think in this case, it’s best to have Sheriff Brunswick to reach out to Martha.”

“That’s a good idea,” Tad said. “Give him a call.”

“Wait?” Christian tapped the wheel. “He’s not there yet?”

“No.”

“Did he give you an ETA?” Maybe Joel was on another call. Their county was large, and with only him and one undersheriff, they had a lot of ground to cover.

“I haven’t called him yet.”

Christian’s brows hiked. “You called me before the sheriff?” Where was the sense in that?

“You put the supposedly impenetrable system in. I want to know what went wrong. And I need you to get me inside if we can’t get Alex’s fob.”

“Me?” Christian tapped the wheel.

“You installed the system, so surely you know how to beat it. And, regardless, you’re the one the sheriff calls when they need a locksmith or safecracker on a case. Though you’re quite more than a simple locksmith, aren’t you?”

Christian stiffened. “Meaning?”

“Whoever did this obviously had knowledge of the system.”

“And . . . ?” Christian tightened his grip on the wheel, his knuckles turning white.

“As far as I’m concerned, you’re to blame.”

Christian swallowed the sharp retort ready to fly and took a settling breath instead. “I’ll be there in twenty.”

He disconnected the call before Tad could throw another barb in his direction. He knew all too well how those stinging barbs felt, but this time he was innocent.

Dani Pettrey, One Wrong Move
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2024. Used by permission.


Dani Pettrey

Dani Pettrey is the bestselling author of the Coastal Guardians, Chesapeake Valor, and Alaskan Courage series. A two-time Christy Award finalist, Dani has won the National Readers’ Choice Award, Daphne du Maurier Award, HOLT Medallion, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award for Suspense. She plots murder and mayhem from her home in the Washington, DC, metro area. Connect with Dani on her website.



The giveaway is for: One paperback copy of One Wrong Move by Dani Pettrey and a $15 Amazon gift card to one winner; US only.

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