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Tender Is The Night - Print Books

Tender Is The Night - Print Books

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"Fabulously written characters with wit and humor. Action packed and dramatic. Sexy and angst filled. Intense twists and turns. I love this family." Terri - Goodreads

FBI agent Kate Callaway is on her way to San Francisco for a family wedding when her boss asks her to make a side trip to help an ex-agent with a cold case.

Devin Scott wants FBI resources to find a serial arsonist, who is believed to be dead. Instead, he gets a newly minted agent who is a beautiful, idealistic and irritating distraction. He wants her to walk away, and she knows she should go…but she can't.

Suddenly, Kate is caught up in an intriguing mystery and the arms of a dangerously sexy man, whose obsession with truth and justice could put not only his life on the line but also hers.

What the readers are saying…

"I love Barbara Freethy books and this story did not disappoint. The pace was steady and before I knew it, I was at the end of the story. I look forward to learning more about Kate and Mia’s family. 5 stars!" Debbie – Goodreads

"Author Barbara Freethy does a masterful job of creating a plot that draws the reader to a suspenseful climax. With each new book in the Callaway series, she brings together a wonderful blend of love, family and suspense." RJ – Goodreads

"The characters are complex and grow throughout the story. The twists & turns of the plot keep you involved. I was caught from the beginning and could not put it down." Pam – Goodreads

"The writing was captivating, with vivid description, thrills and chills, and unexpected twists making this a real page turner. The tension was thick with plenty of suspense, great chills, thrills with unexpected twists that kept the reader on the edge of the seat." Carol - Goodreads




"Yes, he's probably cheating on you. No, you didn't do anything wrong. Yes, you should absolutely find out, and, no, you won't find anyone better than me for the job." Devin Scott ended his cocky monologue by sitting back in the worn leather chair behind his desk and giving the beautiful blonde in front of him a weary, cynical smile. 

Although he was fairly certain he knew exactly why this woman had come looking for a private investigator, he couldn't understand why any man would want to cheat on her. She was one of the prettiest women he'd seen in a long time with shoulder-length, thick, wavy blonde hair, honey gold skin, and slender, athletic grace. 

Then again, appearances could be deceiving. 

As she stared back at him with a pair of intense, intelligent blue eyes that made his nerves tingle, he suddenly wasn't at all sure why she'd come to his office. 

"You think a man would cheat on me?" She crossed her legs, revealing a bit more thigh under the cream-colored knit dress that clung to her curves. "Why?"

"Because you're looking for a private investigator."

"And I couldn't have another reason for coming to see you?" 

"Most women who show up here don't."


He sat up in his chair, instinct suggesting he might have misjudged her.

"Do you want to know what I think?" She tucked a strand of shiny hair behind her ear and gave him a challenging look.

He had a feeling he didn't want to know what she thought, but since it had been a really long time since anyone had surprised him, he said, "Yes."

"I don't think you're anywhere close to being the best investigator in the business, because I don't have a boyfriend or a husband, and if I did, and if he were cheating on me…" She paused. "I'd catch him myself, and I'd make him very, very sorry."

Seeing the steel fire in her eyes, he had no doubt that she was capable of backing up her words.

"I'm also not here to hire you," she continued. "I'm here to help you."

He raised an eyebrow. "Help me? How?" 

"It's my understanding you've requested assistance from the FBI."

His heart sank, and his stomach turned over. "Hal sent you?" He couldn't help but emphasize the word you, because when he'd asked Hal for help, he'd hoped for a seasoned agent or a team or anyone besides this young woman, who couldn't have been on the job more than a year. 

She stared back at him, her gaze unwavering. "Why shouldn't he send me?"

"How long have you been working for the Bureau?"

"A year, but that shouldn't matter. I'm good."

He appreciated the proud glint in her eyes, but having been a special agent with the FBI for almost a decade, he didn't think she had any idea just how good or bad she was. "No, thanks."

Her right eyebrow shot up in surprise. "Seriously? You're turning down my help?"


"You're not even going to give me a chance?"

He shook his head. "Nope."

"Why not?"

"Because you have no idea the massive number of things you don't know, that the Bureau didn't train you to know, and I don't have time to teach you."

"You have no idea what I'm capable of, what I already know," she retorted. "But putting my level of experience aside, here's the bottom line—it's me or no one. That's coming straight from Agent Roman. Apparently, you've used up whatever credit you had on account with him. I've been assigned to help you for five days." 

"Forget it," he said, disgusted and angry with himself for actually believing the Bureau might help him solve the murder of his former partner and finally get justice for her death. "I'll take no one."

She folded her arms across her chest, drawing his eye to her beautiful breasts, which were more than a little distracting. 

"Then apparently you're as stupid as they said you were," she said. 

It took a moment for him to get his focus back, and he frowned at her blunt words. "Who told you I was stupid?"

"Some of your old buddies. They told me you were once a brilliant agent, but you got caught up in your emotions, and you were too stupid to realize that you were obsessed with a truth that didn't exist. Maybe they're right. Maybe you have lost it."

She made him feel like he was a hundred years old instead of thirty-four. "I'm still brilliant, and the only thing I lost was the illusion that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was actually interested in investigating the death of one of their agents."  

"If they weren't interested, I wouldn't be here."

"Lip service," he said dismissively. 

"I might be able to help you more than you think."

"How so?" 

"My name is Kate Callaway. My uncle, Jack Callaway, is deputy director of the San Francisco Fire Department. My cousin, Emma Callaway Harrison, is an arson investigator with SFFD, and I have two brothers and a bunch of cousins who are San Francisco firefighters. The case you're working involves a serial arsonist here in San Francisco. Who on earth would be better to help you with that than me?"

She made a good point. "When you put it like that…" he drawled.

"Exactly. I'm certain Agent Roman sent me because he thought I could help you and not just to get you off his back."

He wasn't as certain of that as she was, but her contacts with the SFFD could be of value. Still, he hesitated. 

The fire in her eyes, the sexy, confident smile, and her very attractive shape reminded him that there was probably an even better reason to send her away than the fact that she was a green agent. He couldn't afford to be distracted. It had been months since he had a good lead. He couldn't blow that now. But was he really going to send away a resource who was extremely well-connected to the local fire department and arson unit?

Contrary to what his former coworkers thought, he'd never been stupid, and he wasn't going to start now. "Fine."

"Fine?" she echoed. "That's it?"

"You can help me."

"I'm so honored," she said sarcastically. 

"You're going to be a pain in the ass, aren't you?"

"I'd say you could count on that. So, do you want to read me in?"

"On the way," he said, his gaze catching on the clock on his wall. It was almost five thirty. He got to his feet and grabbed his keys.

"On the way to where?" she asked, as she stood up. 

"The Allure nightclub. I have to catch a cheating husband on his way home from work." 

"That can't wait?"


"Maybe I can meet you later—or tomorrow," she said, following him out of the office. 

"We can talk in the car."

"Or we could start in the morning." 

"We'll start now." He paused at the top of the stairs. "Let's get one thing straight, Special Agent Kate Callaway—I'm in charge of this investigation."

"You're not even with the Bureau anymore, Mr. Scott, so how can you be in charge?"

"Because I am. Because I've spent every day of the last eighteen months looking for the person who killed my partner, and I'm not going to stop until I catch them. If you want to stay, that's the deal."

"You shouldn't be calling the shots," she grumbled. 

He shrugged. "Take it or leave it."

"If I leave it, you'll have no one. You'll be on your own," she pointed out. 

"That's true. And if you want to walk away from a case that could put away the murderer of a special agent, then you can walk away. God knows you wouldn't be the first."

She stared back at him with doubt in her eyes. "I don't believe anyone just walked away."

"Do you see anyone else here?" he challenged. "You can make excuses. You can tell me the Bureau believes the arsonist is already dead. You can say that terrorist threats and sex trafficking and any other number of other crimes have had to take precedence, but the death of an agent should never be forgotten or go unsolved. Samantha Parker gave her life to the Bureau, and until her killer is in jail, I will be working her case. Got it?"

Kate nodded. "Yes. I'll stay, and I'll follow your lead until you do something stupid. Then the deal is off." 

He'd probably already done something stupid when he'd agreed to work with her. But it was too late to back out now. For better or worse he had a partner—for several days anyway. 

* * *

Devin Scott wasn't what she'd expected at all. While he might have been described to her as a burned-out ex-agent with a crazy obsession and a huge chip on his shoulder, no one had mentioned that he was also extremely attractive in a scruffy kind of way, with wavy brown hair, intense dark brown eyes, and a day's growth of beard on his jaw. From the way his jeans and knit shirt clung to his lean, powerful frame, he also appeared to be incredibly fit. Whatever he'd been doing since he'd left the Bureau, he'd obviously kept in excellent shape. 

Not that she should be thinking that much about his body. He was a job—just a job. She'd worked with good-looking men before, and his arrogant cockiness was nothing new, either. She had three older brothers who were as alpha as they come, and as a woman in a predominantly male field, she knew how to hold her own. She just hadn't expected to have to fight for an assignment that she didn't really even want. The only reason she'd said yes was because her boss had asked her to do him a favor. 

She probably should have walked away when she had the chance, but as soon as Devin Scott had looked down his nose at her and said, "no thanks," she'd felt compelled to do whatever it took to get the job. She'd always been that way. When someone told her she couldn't do something, she became determined to prove them wrong, no matter what the cost. 

The cost now was at least a few more days in the company of one cynical, moody man who might be taking her on a wild-goose chase. 

Agent Roman had told her he was ninety-nine percent sure that Devin was just letting grief and guilt cloud his judgment, but it was that one percent of uncertainty that had gotten her the assignment. Agent Roman had sent her to make sure that Devin didn't actually have a case, but she wasn't going to tell Devin that. 

Devin flipped the locks on a silver SUV. He opened the passenger door and grabbed a sweatshirt, two empty water bottles, and a couple of books and tossed them into the backseat. She noticed two of those books were on fire investigation. She had a feeling he was an expert in the subject by now. 

She slid into her seat and fastened her seat belt while Devin got in behind the wheel. "So tell me about the case," she said, as he started the car. 

"How much do you know?" 

"Not a lot. I only got the assignment this morning. I did a quick read-through, and I know that your partner, Agent Samantha Parker, was profiling a serial arsonist when she died in a fire with the man believed to be the arsonist—Rick Baines, a wanna-be firefighter."

"Baines didn't do it," Devin said flatly, not a hint of doubt in his voice. 

"There appeared to be a great deal of evidence against him."

"He matched a general profile, but not the one Sam was working on. He didn't do it," Devin repeated. "The real killer is still out there, and he's going to strike again."

She thought about his words and the other piece of information that Agent Roman had given her before she left. "I was told that you thought you had a lead eight months ago and that it didn't pan out."

He shot her a dark look. "That doesn't mean I'm wrong now."

It might not mean that, but it certainly hadn't helped his cause. "Why did you leave the Bureau?"

"I'm sure they told you why. I needed time to work the case."

"That's why you're now tracking cheating husbands?"

"Yes. It pays the bills and gives me the time and the freedom to find Sam's killer."

"Were you and Agent Parker involved?"

The anger that came off him at her question heated up the air between them. His intense glare instinctively made her edge toward the door. 

"No," he said, his voice tight, as if he were fighting for control. "She was my partner and my friend. She was also a loyal agent, and she deserves justice."

Despite his words, she felt like there was a more emotional connection between him and his partner than he was saying. But she changed the subject. "Tell me why you're so sure the man who was found in the house wasn't the killer."

"Because Sam left me a message right before she went to the scene. She was excited about a new clue she'd discovered."

"What was that?"

"She didn't say, but she did say we'd been on the wrong track, that everything made sense now, that the profile we'd been working was completely wrong." 

"That sounds very general."

"Unfortunately, yes. She said she would tell me more when we met. She gave me an address and said 'see you soon.'" He let out a heavy breath. "That was the last thing she ever said to me. I played her message for everyone to hear, but it wasn't enough to convince anyone that Baines wasn't the right guy."

"Maybe she got it wrong," Kate said tentatively. "Maybe Baines was the guy. He was there. He died with her."  

His jaw tightened. "She didn't get it wrong."

"What aren't you telling me? You would need more than a phone message to go against the entire Bureau."

"There's a hell of a lot more," he agreed. "But it's going to have to wait. We're here."

He pulled into a parking spot across the street from a seedy-looking bar named Allure. But it wasn't just a bar, she realized; it was also a strip club. Great. Just what she wanted to do on a Wednesday night. "That's the place?"

"That's it." 

"What are you going to do?" she asked curiously. 

"Take photos of the cheater for his wife."

"And then what?"

"Give them to her in exchange for a nice wad of cash."

"I mean—what is she going to do with the pictures?"

He shrugged. "Don't know. Don't care. Not my job to ask."

"I can't understand how a man trained to ask questions wouldn't want to ask that question. What if she's blackmailing him? Or setting him up in some way?"

"She just wants to know if he's lying to her. And I can already tell you—he is."

"You've followed him before?"

"No, I ran his credit cards. He comes here twice a week, on Monday nights when his wife is at her book club and on Wednesday nights when she goes to Pilates. He's, of course, allegedly working late."

"Where does he work?"

"An advertising agency. He's an account manager."

"How long have they been married?"

"Seven years."

"Does the wife work?"

"She does. She developed a line of popular skin care products that she sells online. Apparently, her business is quite robust."

Kate thought about that. "It sounds like she's more successful than he is. Maybe that's why he's cheating. He can't stand that his wife is doing better than him. I know men like that."  

Devin sent her a speculative look. "Are you speaking from personal experience?"

"Of course not," she said quickly, realizing she had let a little of her personal past creep into their conversation. "Just saying he sounds selfish."

"Most people who cheat are selfish."

"I suppose. But you don't actually know if he is cheating. He might be watching the strippers but not actually doing anything."

"I doubt it."

"You really think you know everything, don't you? Yet, you were wrong about why I came to your office."

He frowned. "For about thirty seconds."

She smiled. "You hate to be wrong, don't you?"

"I'm guessing you share the same attitude."

"Well, so far tonight you're the only one who has been wrong, so I don't actually know what being wrong feels like." 

"You're wrong if you think chasing Sam's killer is a pointless exercise."

She met his gaze. "I haven't made that assumption yet. I'm still gathering the facts." 

As he reached for the door handle, she frowned and said, "Wait. Where are you going? I thought we were watching the door."

"We'll wait for him inside. It's more comfortable, and I could use a drink."

"You drink on the job?"

"One of the perks of working for myself now. Come on, I'll buy you a beer." He paused. "You're not going to tell me you don't drink, are you?"

"Since I met you twenty minutes ago, I've actually been thinking a lot about having a drink—or two," she said dryly. 

For the first time, a glimmer of a smile crossed his lips. "I'd like to tell you that feeling will go away once you get to know me."

"But it won't?"

"Looks like we're going to find out."

The Callaways are a family born to serve and protect, many as firefighters. Set primarily in San Francisco, the series features a blended family, with each member in the family getting their own book.

Each book stands alone with a complete story. No cliffhangers! But reading the entire series will give readers a chance to spend more time with this

amazing family!

The books feature romance, mystery and family drama with popular storylines featuring alpha heroes, firefighter romance, girl next door, love at first

sight, enemies to lovers, opposites attract, grumpy sunshine, meet cute, and second chance at love.

I love to write complex books that provide reading pleasure, a mystery to unravel, characters to fall in love with, and a story that will keep readers turning the pages. Start reading the Callaways today!

Don't Miss Any of the Callaway Novels:

  • On A Night Like This (#1)
  • So This Is Love (#2)
  • Falling For A Stranger (#3)
  • Between Now And Forever (#4)
  • Nobody But You (#5) A Callaway Wedding Novella)
  • All A Heart Needs (#6)
  • That Summer Night (#7)
  • When Shadows Fall (#8)
  • Somewhere Only We Know (#9)

Callaway Cousins

  • If I Didn't Know Better (#1)
  • Tender Is The Night (#2)
  • Take Me Home (#3) (Callaway Novella)
  • Closer To You (#4)
  • Once You're Mine (#5)
  • Can't Let Go (#6)
  • Secrets We Keep (#7)

Callaway Series Box Sets

  • Callaways Box Set, Books 1-3
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 4-6
  • Callaways Box Set, Books 7-9
  • Callaways Complete Box Set, Books 1-8
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 1-4
  • Callaway Cousins Box Set, Books 5-7

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