Stone Cold Surrender(3)

By: Brenda Jackson

Her smile widened. “It is and I enjoy what I do.”

He chuckled. “Yes, in this day and time it’s good when a person can enjoy their work.”

She stared at him for a second then asked, “And what type of work do you do?”

He hesitated before answering. As a bestselling author he used a pseudonym to ensure his privacy, but for some

reason he felt comfortable being truthful with her. “I’m a

fiction writer.”

A smile tilted her lips. “Oh, how wonderful. Sorry, but I don’t recall ever reading any of your books. What exactly do you write about?”

Stone chuckled. “I write action-thriller novels under the pseudonym of Rock Mason.”

She blinked and then gasped. “You’re Rock Mason? The

Rock Mason?”

He smiled, glad that she had at least heard of Rock Mason. “Yes.”

“Oh, my gosh! My mother has read every single book you’ve written. She is an avid fan of yours.”

His smile widened. “What about you? Have you read any of my books?”

She gazed at him with regret. “No, I usually don’t have time to read for pleasure, but from what I understand you’re a

gifted author.”


“A few of my girlfriends are in book clubs and they select

your books to read and discuss whenever they hit the

bookstores. You have quite a following in Boston. Have you ever visited there?”

“Yes, I did a book signing in Boston a couple of years ago and thought it was a beautiful city.”

Madison beamed. “It is. I love Boston and can’t imagine myself living anywhere else. I even attended Boston

University because I didn’t want to leave home.”

At that moment they were interrupted as the flight attendant

stopped to serve them drinks and a snack.

“So are you headed for Montana on business?” Stone

asked. He remembered her saying something earlier about needing to get there rather quickly. He watched as she took a bite of her muffin and immediately felt his libido register the single crumb that clung to the side of her mouth. If that wasn’t bad enough, she took a long sip of coffee and

closed her eyes. Seconds later, as if the coffee was the

best she’d ever tasted, she reopened her eyes. He saw the play of emotions across her face as she thought about his question.

“No, my visit to Montana is strictly personal.” Then she studied him for a moment as if making a decision about something and said, “I’m going to Montana to find my


Stone lifted a brow. “Oh? Is she missing?”

Madison leaned back against her seat, seemingly

frustrated. “Yes. She and a couple of other women from

Boston flew to Montana two weeks ago to tour Yellowstone National Park.” She looked down and studied her coffee

before adding in a low voice, “All the other women returned except my mother.”

He heard the deep concern in her voice. “Have you heard from her?”

She nodded her head. “Yes. She left a message on my

answering machine letting me know that she had decided to extend her vacation another two weeks.”

A part of Madison wondered why she was disclosing such information to Stone, a virtual stranger. The only reason she could come up with was that she needed to talk to

someone and Stone Westmoreland seemed like a nice

enough guy to listen. Besides, she needed an unbiased


“She left a message that she’s extending her vacation yet you’re going to Montana to look for her anyway?”

Stone’s question, and the way he had asked it, let her know he didn’t understand. “Yes, because there’s a man


He nodded slowly. “Oh, I see.”

Frankly, he really didn’t see at all and evidently his

expression revealed as much because she then said, “You might not think there’s reason for concern, Mr.

Westmoreland, but—”

“Stone. Please call me Stone.”

She smiled. “All right.” Then she started explaining herself again. “There is good reason for my concern, Stone. My mother hasn’t done anything like this before.”

He nodded again. “So you think that perhaps there has been some sort of foul play?”

She shook her head, denying that possibility. “No, I think it has something to do with her going through some sort of midlife crisis. She turned fifty a couple of months ago, and until that time she was completely normal.”

Stone took a sip of his coffee. He remembered what

happened when his mother turned fifty. She decided that

she wanted to go back to school and start working outside of the home. His father almost had a fit because he was