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       Instead of starting, his car exploded.

      The force of the explosion knocked them both to the ground. She felt dazed; she didn’t understand what had happened. Through the ringing in her ears, she heard screams, running footsteps, the roar of fire and then another, smaller explosion that shook the ground.

      Then Eric was there, his strong arms supporting her as he helped her to her feet. “Are you all right?”

      “I think so.” She glanced up and gasped when she saw the jagged gash on his cheek. She couldn’t look away from all the blood.

      “You’re bleeding …” Swaying, she clutched at him.

      “Easy. I think you’re going into shock,” he murmured.

      “What exactly just happened?” she asked, her voice hoarse.

      “Someone blew up my car. If we’d been inside when it started, we’d both be—”


      And then the seriousness of the situation slammed home. Someone was after her. Someone who, for whatever reason, wanted her dead. But why? Who was she?


      Be sure to check out the next books in The Coltons of Oklahoma series.

      The Coltons of Oklahoma Family secrets always find a way to resurface …

      The Temptation

      of Dr Colton

      Karen Whiddon


      KAREN WHIDDON started weaving fanciful tales for her younger brothers at eleven. Amid the Catskill Mountains, then the Rocky Mountains, she fueled her imagination with the natural beauty surrounding her. Karen lives in north Texas and shares her life with her hero of a husband and three doting dogs. You can e-mail Karen at [email protected] or write to her at PO Box 820807, Fort Worth, TX 76182, USA. Fans can also check out her website, www.karenwhiddon.com.

      To all the wonderful and patient medical professionals who answered questions about trauma surgeons, especially Heather Rodriquez, thank you for your insight. I also learned a lot about Oklahoma cattle ranches from the website of Ree Drummond, AKA The Pioneer Woman. Any mistakes about either are my own.




       Title Page

       About the Author


       Chapter 5

       Chapter 6

       Chapter 7

       Chapter 8

       Chapter 9

       Chapter 10

       Chapter 11

       Chapter 12

       Chapter 13

       Chapter 14

       Chapter 15

       Chapter 16



       Chapter 1

      Despite the steady, light rain, Dr. Eric Colton plowed forward, chin up, his stride brisk. After a long, hot Oklahoma summer, any rain in August was a cause for celebration, though the slate-gray sky matched his mood. Walking home had become his own form of therapy, a way to clear his head after another exhilarating, stress-filled day as a trauma surgeon at Tulsa General Hospital.

      The sound of tires squealing on slick pavement made him look back. A black Lincoln Town Car came barreling around the corner, engine revving. The light had just changed and a woman carrying a purple umbrella stepped into the crosswalk. The vehicle never slowed.

      With his heart in his throat, he shouted a warning. Too late. As if in slow motion, he watched the car hit the woman, sending her into the air, umbrella and all. The Town Car kept going, taillights flashing red as it disappeared into the distance.

      Eric ran, pulling out his cell phone and dialing 911. The woman lay in a crumpled heap on the pavement. He knelt and checked her pulse. Good. Since he knew better than to move her, he grabbed her umbrella and held it over her while he waited with her. As a small crowd gathered, he motioned them back. The same eerie calm he always experienced when he was working had settled over him, though adrenaline still pumped through his veins. Mentally, he assessed her possible injuries, already thinking ahead to types of treatment.

      Siren sounding, lights flashing, an ambulance arrived. Still holding the purple umbrella, Eric identified himself as a doctor and explained what he’d witnessed. He watched as the EMTs used the scoop stretcher to get the woman up and he informed them he would be going to the hospital with her.

      Once she’d been safely secured inside the ambulance, he climbed in, too. Though careful to stay in the background and not interfere, he kept a sharp eye on them as they worked on the woman. A bruise had begun to form on one high, exotic cheekbone. Even banged up, he could tell she was pretty, maybe even beautiful.

      A few minutes later, they pulled up at the ER. While the EMTs got everything ready to bring the patient in, Eric took her small, delicate hand. To his shock, she opened her eyes—they were a startling light blue.

      “Walter?” she asked, her husky voice weak. Before he could respond, she drifted back into unconsciousness.

      Eric strode ahead,

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