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Peek Inside What Mattered Most

Houston homicide detective John O’Reilly has an enemy hell-bent on revenge, and the woman he’s falling for and their unborn child might end up as collateral damage.

What Mattered Most

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Sheriff’s deputy Lanie Falconetti won’t make the same mistake her mother made and end up with a broken heart. She knows love is not in the cards for her, but when a no-strings attached affair with John O'Reilly leads to an unexpected but welcomed pregnancy, Lanie starts reevaluating things.

Houston homicide detective John O’Reilly has an enemy hell-bent on destroying him. The shadow from his past wants to strip everything from him. It’s not only John’s happiness and future at stake, but also Lanie’s life, and the life of their unborn baby.


"...still a solid read. I especially love how the book touched on Lanie's postpartum depression. It was very realistic and done really well." --Geri Reads, Goodreads

"Oh my gawd. I absolutely loved it! This is my first book by Linda Winfree and her story telling ability just blows me away." --Jae, Goodreads

"More of an emotional, tear jerker read." --Pamela, Goodreads

Additional Details

ISBN: 9781640633155
Release Date: Aug 21, 2017
Page Count: 292
Imprint: amara next
Genre: contemporary, law enforcement/firemen
Tropes: accidental pregnancy, overcoming odds, redemption, relationship in trouble, revenge, secret baby

Select Featured Reviews

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By Geri Reads June 22, 2013

Ugh! It's another one of those hard to rate books. I actually enjoyed this one. I'm pretty much a sucker for the unrequited love trope. There were high points in the book for sure but there are low points as well where I feel the story dragged a little bit.

And another thing I didn't get was the blu ...more

By Jae May 23, 2011

Oh my gawd. I absolutely loved it! This is my first book by Linda Winfree and her story telling ability just blows me away.

A story about a man coming to terms with being in love with his baby mama a moment too late.

I will definitely dive into book #1 of the Hearts of the South series next. ...more

By Mspink April 04, 2010

John and Lanie. Two people who lived together, great sexual chemistry, an unplanned pregnancy, his conflicted feelings over his childhood and his emotions towards his partner and former lover, Beth (which was not known to Lanie). Beth considered him a good friend but did not and had never really lov ...more

By Booklover May 12, 2012

This was an emotional cheating story,it had me gripped from start till the end,Lanie such a strong woman,she suffered so much pain from two most important men in her life-father and now John.John was involved with Lanie and they were going to have a baby but he had feelings for Beth which he kept fr ...more

By Cheesecake March 30, 2018

Oh my gosh, what an angst fest!!
But wait... misleading blurb alert! Tom isn't really forced to choose 'what matters most'. His realization comes to him more as a belated result of his poor choices. To little to late??

It isn't really 4 stars for me but I really did enjoy most of it even if it ended o ...more

By Pamela(AllHoney) July 11, 2014

More of an emotional, tear jerker read. I thought it would be more of a romantic suspense but the suspense all happened pretty early in the story. Still it was a good solid read. ...more

By Vee April 12, 2015

* available on ScribD at time of reading

I was pleasantly surprised how I liked this book. This was quite angsty. Homicide detective John thought he was in love with his partner, Beth, though he was having a sexual relationship with Lanie who happened to be pregnant with his child. It was shown early ...more

By Tia May 05, 2012

For reviews, I can't say much that isn't the same as all the high rating reviews. The book blurb is completely misleading. The one girl he loves, doesn't love him at all, she was just grateful to him because he got her out of a horrid situation. The woman he knocked up doesn't even know about the wo ...more

By Lynn December 27, 2013

wow... this was a book I really wanted to read and the angst did not let me down.... wow what would you do if a madman had the woman you have been in love with for a long time, whom you moved states to be near...whom you still partner with hostage....along with the woman you have been living with (h ...more

UPDATE: 11th January, 2016 (First re-read)


I'm a sucker for romance where the Hero's in love with another woman and realizing what a piece of shit he was and grovelled to get back to the heroine's good graces. I love the angst -- it makes me feel alive. LOL.

I picked up ...more

By Kimberly aka Booklover #1 May 18, 2011

Awesome book with so much emotion. One of my favorites. H/h are living together, but H loves another woman (he thinks). Ex of OW comes back to kill OW, but severely hurts h (she is very pregnant) and that is when h finds out that H loves OW. Absolutely heartbreaking. They had to take the baby and H ...more

By Rica October 17, 2014

4.5 Stars. I really enjoyed this book. It had angst and groveling. The heroine was great...made him work got it! The only thing missing IMO is an epilogue ...more

By Kiri Fiona October 19, 2016

4 Stars…


A man in the worst place he can be between two women and forced to choose which one lives or dies. Houston homicide detective, John OReilly, is torn between two women. One is the woman hes loved without hope for years. The other carries his unborn child. Now, a man bent on revenge wants OReilly to c ...more

By Cindy May 08, 2012

This is truly a gut wrenching book... There is no HEA until the final pages. But it’s a great book that was the start of Linda Winfree's Heart's of the South series. This book introduced us to Cait Falconetti who goes on to be in all but the first book of the series.

This book is about her cousin La ...more

By Diane June 13, 2012

i saw this book recommended on one of the amazon discussion sites and it sounded interesting enough that i got the sample, then when i got the sample, just had to have the book. one of the beauties of owning a kindle is that instant gratification thing they have going on! without spoiling it too muc ...more

By Teresa June 24, 2015

O meu estilo de história preferido: policial e romance reunidos.
Quando tem que escolher entre as duas mulheres da sua vida - a que ama e a que está grávida do seu filho, que pode John fazer?
Mas será que no fundo não são a mesma: a mulher que ama é a que está grávida?
E quando finalmente se apercebe d ...more

By Mystique December 07, 2014

ending seemed rushed...otherwise it was quite heart wrenching/bittersweet;p to read about how the characters forgive each other and move on together ;)

overall 5 stars!!;) ...more

By Rhian May 17, 2010

I loved this book. Linda isn't afraid to dig into the hard subjects. she had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. ...more

By Anne OK May 10, 2012

(Christy Reece recommendation 12/11)


By Natasha October 07, 2012

A very emotional read. ...more

By Ty December 30, 2018

Honest to goodness, I could not put the book down for the 1st half of the book. I was soooo into the drama unfolding, and my heart breaking that I just couldn’t stop reading.

Just to be clear on this. JOHN DID NOT CHEAT ON LAINE. He did NOT fuck nor had sex or any relationship with any woman during ...more

By Bougenville September 18, 2017

oh Lord! the angst made me awake all night long .... I dunno why keep this book long enough in my read later list, basically i'm not sure yet to read about second chance. sometimes book like this is hard to rate,and i am right! it's hard to rate, rather u love it or hate it...finally i choose to lov ...more

By Southern Sky January 28, 2019

I read this book a few years ago on scribd. Man did it give me the feels. My heart broke for Lanie because she was essentially blindsided. Beth was a bitch with zero redeeming qualities and I just wanted to strangle John. John had ample opportunity to tell Lanie the truth but never did and just acte ...more

By BURMA May 08, 2017

Qué se siente cuando descubres de manera súbita y muy dolorosa que tu pareja está enamorado de otra mujer y que la elegiría posiblemente antes que a ti si se viera obligado a salvarle la vida a una de las dos? Potente premisa de una historia que al final flaquea un poco. Con todo, muy interesante. r ...more

By A.L. January 25, 2020

I read this on a recommendation from a friend and boy, oh boy am I glad I did. This book was awesome! A little suspense, a lot of relationship with tons of emotion, great characterization by an author who has immense talent is the prize you get when you read What Mattered Most. ...more

Showing 1 to 25 of 25
3.57 avg rating
Linda Winfree

About the author

Linda Winfree

How does an English teacher end up plotting murders? She uses her experiences as a cop's wife to become a writer of romantic suspense! Linda Winfree lives in a quintessential small Georgia town with her husband and grand-dog. By day, she teaches English/Language Arts and is an all-round education nerd; by night she pens sultry books full of murder and mayhem. To learn more about Linda and her books, visit or connect with her on Facebook at You can also contact Linda via email at [email protected]

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