Length: 98,000 words
Genres: Contemporary Romantic Suspense (Adventure)
Heat Level: Steamy
One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she's accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story. She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother's home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.
Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter, Noah Reynolds. His take-me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer's block and while he's dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness.
Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah's stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What's real? What's imagined? Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge.
Surrendering, she leaned her head against his shoulder and held on as if her life depended on it. When he wrapped his arms around her, she closed her eyes. He felt like a safe haven in a storm.
“When you look at me, do you think about why I’m here or what I’ve done like Larry does? Tell me the truth,” she whispered against his neck.
“No, I don’t. That’s the truth.” Fingers on her chin, he tilted her face up to look at him. “I see a beautiful woman who’s my friend’s sister and who I’ve been having elicit fantasies about for nearly forty-eight hours even though I know it’s a bad idea.”
“It is a bad idea.” She stared into his eyes as if trying to see his soul. She needed at least one person in this world who didn’t think of her as damaged. “You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’m capable of. I saw the way you looked at me back there. You were wondering if I’d snap.”
“Because a man had been shot next to you, not because of your past. Damn it, I’m shaken up myself.” He pressed his forehead against hers. “You tried to protect me, wanted me to tamper with evidence, that’s sexy as hell.”
She grinned despite the weight that had fallen on her shoulders. “I wanted to see what was in the envelope.”
“Ahh...so you were driven by curiosity.” His thumb traced the curve of her lower lip. “You’re one helluva woman, Lauren Biltmore.”
“You don’t know me.” She looped her hands around his neck and leaned closer. Damn, the man felt like heaven. “Is someone trying to hurt you, Noah?”
In the darkness, it was hard to tell if the shadows across his face were caused by clouds over the moon or unspoken emotion.
“No one’s trying to hurt me.” His grin seemed fake. “Let’s get you back to Austin’s.”
She held him when he would have stepped back. “You’re lying.”
He pushed his hands through her hair, gaze scanning her face. “Like you said, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. Maybe it’s best if we stop this before it goes any further. You don’t need my kind of trouble in your life right now.”
“Maybe your kind of trouble is exactly what I need.” She kissed him because the adrenaline surging through her body needed release, and he was the perfect outlet.
He matched her intensity with a fierceness that weakened her knees. She sagged against him, hands clinging to his shoulders for support. Trouble or not, the man kissed like a porn star. Damn, he melted the skin from her bones with every stroke of his tongue against hers.
Her hands roamed over his shoulders to his back. She pressed closer, craving skin on skin. One thought and one thought only penetrated her mind...sex. She wanted him inside her. Now. Fast. To hell with the consequences.
Together they fell against the sand with laughter tangled between their lips. Somewhere between fleeing a crime scene and kissing, fear had transitioned to passion. She needed his touch, his mouth, his body heavy against hers. Desire consumed every cell of her body.
“We’re the most unethical people I know,” he said against her mouth. “I shouldn’t be proud of that, but strangely I am.”
“Take me back to Austin’s. Stay with me.” She caught his lip lightly between her teeth and stared into his eyes.
His hand slid beneath her skirt and up her thigh. “I don’t know if we’re good or bad for each other. I’m not thinking clearly at all around you, making bad decisions, dragging you along with me.”
“I’m going willingly.” She nipped his neck, her hands smoothing down his back before grabbing his ass. “We have too many clothes on.”
“And we’re on a beach within view of anyone who happens to walk by and look closely enough.” He laughed against the side of her face. “Let me take you home.”
“And you’ll stay with me?” She kissed him again, unwilling to let him go. He felt too damn good pressing her into the cool sand at her back.
His kiss softened and teased as his hand caressed her naked thigh beneath the skirt, his thumb moving over her panties. She hungered for him like a woman coming off a diet craved chocolate.
“I’m such a bastard,” he whispered before rolling off of her and covering his face with his hands. “I can’t do this. It’s not right.”
The abruptness of his absence rattled her. They laid side-by-side, their breathing labored and a sea of stars above them.
“Do what? Me? Us? What can’t you do?” she asked even though she didn’t want to talk. No, talking was the furthest thing from her agenda.
“I can’t be the man you need me to be.” He sat up and looked toward the ocean. “That’s just how it is. I’m not a good guy. It’s for the best. Trust me.”
Dating. The word alone makes me want to put a straw into a bottle of wine and suck until it’s dry.
I’ve been widowed for seven years and have been dipping my foot back into the dating pool. Dating over 40 is a lot different than it was 20 years ago. I don’t know the rules. But I honestly don’t remember there being any rules back in the day. Not really. You met someone, you hung out, had a good time...not so complicated. Now I’m finding men who have “tests” and “rules” and blurt out things on the first date like “do you want to have more kids?”
Whoa. Whatever happened to having a good time? Has fun become a foreign concept? And what’s with these “tests” I keep hearing of? Is there some rule book I’m missing? Geez.
You’d think being a romance writer would give me an edge, but the fact is men are terrified of me. They seem to think I have some elevated expectations--which only makes me wonder what they’re lacking, if you know what I mean. C’mon, people! Seriously? The fact that I talk/write openly about sex scares you? Well, then to quote Sheryl Crow, “you’re not strong enough to be my man.”
I’ve been on my own for a little over seven years now. I’ve raised two kids through a lot of trauma and grief, dealt with my own sorrow, kept the roof over our heads and am admittedly very independent. I’m a published romantic suspense novelist who writes about fierce woman overcoming great odds--probably because I relate to my heroines. I’m sassy. I can handle a drill and a chainsaw as well as put on pair of heels and enjoy a nice night at the theater. I honestly don’t feel I need to jump through any hoops to to “prove myself” to any man.
Therein lies the problem. I don’t audition on a date. What you see is what you get. I tell it like it is because I don’t feel I have anything to hide. I’m sexy and I know it (quoting a song from LMAO). I’ll hang out with you as long as we’re getting along and attracted to one another--and as long as my intuition doesn’t scream “serial killer”.
I don’t have a list of tests and, honestly, am insulted that people do. Is this the problem with today’s dating world? Do people go into the beginning of a relationship as if it’s a business transaction? You do this and I’ll do that, what can you give me, what benefit is this to my life? Is that how it’s done? Well, I’m refusing to play by those rules. I’ve never been good with rules anyway and I left tests behind when I graduated college 20 years ago.
Relationships are human connections that have nothing to do with business unless you’re a prostitute or a mail order bride. C’mon! Love is about feelings, attraction, fun and passion. I’m going to stumble around doing things my way because that’s how I roll--right or wrong. As long as my date is making me laugh and makes me feel appreciated, I’m good with that. Call me old fashioned, if you will...but I’m all about finding a heart connection rather than a business partner.
GO HERE TO FOLLOW THIS TOUR:
Aug 27: My Devotional Thoughts (Guest Post)
Aug 28: Simply Ali (Guest Post)
Aug 29: ReadingDiva's Blog (Review)
Aug 30: Lia's Blog (Character Interview)
Aug 31: whoopeeyoo :D (Guest Post)
Sept 1: The Romance Writer's Reads (Guest Post)
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Sept 6: Queen of the Night Reviews (Review)
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Sept 11: Kacey's Konnections (Author Interview)
Sept 12: Sarah Ballance (Author Interview)
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Sept 14: Black Hippie Chick's Take on Books & The World (Character Interview/Review)
Sept 15: Nette's Bookshelf Reviews (Guest Post)
Sept 19: Full Moon Bites (Author Interview)
Sept 20: Keeping Up With The Rheinlander's (Author Interview/Review)
Sept 21: Storm Goddess Book Reviews & More (Author Interview/Review)
Sept 22: Ramblings from this Chick (Guest Post)
Sept 23: Kristy Centeno (Guest Post)
Sept 25: Reviews By Molly (Review)
Sept 25: Rachel Brimble Romance (Author Interview)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she's writing, she considers herself to be simply "a lucky lady liv'n the dream."
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - http://www.amberleaeaston.com
Blog - http://amberleaeaston.blogspot.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberLeaEaston
Twitter - @MtnMoxieGirl