Saturday, September 5, 2015

Book Spotlight ~ Expert Witness by Rachel Dylan

Minutes after testifying in a murder trial, sketch artist Sydney Berry is almost killed in a drive-by shooting. United States Marshal Max Preston saves her life then whisks her away to safety. She's his first protected witness, and he'll do everything in his power to keep her safe. But Sydney doesn't want to hide from danger. She is determined to finish her testimony and put a killer away. With potential suspects coming from all corners, Sydney will have to trust Max with her deepest secrets—and her life.


"All rise." The bailiff's deep voice echoed through the crowded Atlanta courtroom.

Sydney Berry took a deep breath and stepped down from the witness stand. Unfortunately, her expert testimony as a forensic artist in the murder trial of businessman Kevin Diaz wasn't over. She'd have to come back tomorrow and testify about her sessions with the eyewitness and the drawing she'd created of the suspect. The goal—to get the sketch of the suspect introduced into evidence. It would bolster the eyewitness testimony to have the contemporaneous drawing in front of the jury.

If the defense attorney was able to tear apart her testimony, the prosecution's case would be severely weakened. And a guilty man likely would walk free. She refused to let that happen.

She walked out of the courtroom doors, and then the other bailiff standing outside nodded to her, indicating she was on her own. Dear God, please give me the strength to get through this. Let my testimony help the jury so that justice may be done for the murder of an innocent woman.

"Ms. Berry!" A male voice rang out down the courthouse hallway.

The last thing she wanted to do right now was deal with the press. She'd refused every media inquiry thus far, and she would do the same again today. Because of Kevin Diaz's position in the community, the local Atlanta media were having a field day covering the trial.

"No comment." She turned around and came face to face with a tall man in a dark suit and a navy checkered tie. No, he didn't look like the press. He had to be a Fed. His dark brown hair was cut short, and his eyes were a striking deep green.

"I'm not a reporter," he said. "Please let me escort you to your vehicle, and I'll explain."

She took a step, and he followed her.

She turned to him. "Who are you?"

He looked her in the eyes. "I'm US Marshal Max Preston."

Close. She had figured him for FBI. Having dealt with the FBI quite a bit in her line of work, she knew its style, and he fit it perfectly down to the gun she caught a glimpse of on his right hip. Though she wasn't accustomed to consulting for the US Marshals, they were obviously built from the same mold.

"As you can tell, I'm a bit preoccupied right now with this trial." She reached into her pocket for her business card. "Here's my card. Contact me and we can set up a consultation. But it will probably be a few weeks before I can fit it into my schedule." When he refused the card, she pocketed it and pushed open the courthouse door. The summer heat of Atlanta hit her, and she already felt her hair starting to frizz.

"I know this is bad timing, but I need five minutes," he said, following her outside.

The persistent marshal wasn't taking no for an answer. They walked down the courthouse steps on to the sidewalk.

"Really, sir, this isn't a good time."

He touched her arm. "It's important, Ms. Berry. I wouldn't come to you like this otherwise, but I really need to talk to you. Now."

Then she heard car wheels screeching loudly. Looking toward the street, she saw a dark SUV barreling down the road in their direction at top speed. Instinctively, she took a step back.

The tinted window rolled down, and the sound of gunshots exploded through the air. Before she could duck, she found herself hitting the sidewalk hard with the faint taste of blood in her mouth.

Screams and mass chaos erupted around her. As she looked up, trying to determine what had happened, she realized that the US marshal with the bright green eyes was on top of her, shielding her body with his own. He had knocked her down. Probably saving her life.

"That's what I wanted to talk to you about," he said quietly in her ear. "Are you okay?" He lifted his weight off her and his eyes scanned her from head to toe, as if looking for signs of injury.

"I'm fine." She paused, trying to catch her breath. "Wait a minute. You think those bullets were meant for me?"

He gently pulled her up off the ground and wrapped one arm around her shoulder to steady her. "Unfortunately, I do. I need to get you to a secure location. Now."


Rachel Dylan writes Christian fiction including inspirational romantic suspense for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids--two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at racheldylan.com


  1. Great suspense cover for this book! Thanks for the post, Anne!

    1. Totally agree, Carrie! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :)


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1 Corinthians 1:3 ~ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.