Summer Heat Warning: certain scenes are hot enough to heat up the Arctic!
Diamond Hunter, my geologist-in-peril romantic suspense, is set at a fly-in-only diamond mine in Canada's far north in July.
I decided to post an excerpt to bring it to the attention of Kindle Unlimited subscribers who are keen to try a new author.
Petra Paris has agreed to share her mine camp bedroom in exchange for bodyguard services from Seth Cooper, an undercover cop with the Diamond Protection unit.
In this scene, they share a bed for the first time.
“I won’t touch a hair on your pretty head. I’ll lie on top of the blankets.” When she began to protest further, Seth admitted, “My back will give out if I sleep in an awkward position.”
Sympathy dimmed the agitated lights sparking her irises. “Back pain is the worst. I’m not keen to sleep sitting up myself.” Petra made a decision. “Very well. We’ll share the bed for tonight only, due to the extenuating circumstances. Tomorrow night we’ll alternate.”
There wouldn’t be another night, but he didn’t want to rile her. Regret tugged briefly that he’d never see her again after placing her on a commercial flight the next day. His line of work meant personal relationships warranted no place in his life.
Too bad, though, in this instance. Petra, spirited and unaffectedly beautiful, lit an explosive chemical mix in his mind and belly that excited and occasionally frightened him. An undercover detective had no business allowing sexual attraction to interfere with his assignment. Petra’s safety, not her curvy body, rated his attention. End of story.
Petra extracted one of the pillows and plumped it into place on his side of the double bed. After shucking his boots and jacket, he purposely ignored her deliberate effort to create distance and instead dropped heavily into a comfortable position on his back, shoulder to shoulder. As he anticipated, Petra squirmed away from the light contact.
He deliberately readjusted his upper body, forcing her to withdraw to the very edge of the mattress where she remained rigidly quiet. To his pleased surprise she didn’t insist he move over. It reassured him to feel her safe and close. Perhaps she experienced a similar comfort.
After several minutes, a slight smile playing on his lips, he closed his eyes and relaxed in anticipation of a restful night.
“Who is Kate?”
The verbal jab convulsed his abdominal muscles. He’d never mentioned his ex-wife to anyone up north. His friends and co-workers back in British Columbia considered the divorce forbidden territory. No one dared raise the subject in his presence for fear of lighting a very short fuse. “What are you talking about?” he managed.
“Last night you called me Kate. Your exact words were, ‘Kate, come to bed.’”
“I must have been dreaming.” His firm statement broadcast a desire to end the discussion.
“Are you married?”
Dammit. He rolled onto his side away from her. “No.”
“No. Go to sleep.”
A small hand seared the flesh on his forearm. “Seth, in spite of my, ah, participation in this little romantic show we’re staging, your girlfriend has nothing to worry about. A few kisses for appearances doesn’t make you unfaithful.”
Seth gripped the side of the mattress and ground out, “I’m not unfaithful. There is no girlfriend. Leave it alone, will you?”
“That’s a relief. Men gossip, you know. Eventually word spreads to the—”
Seth reversed his body to pin Petra’s chest with his. “I’m a single man. Got it? Kate is my ex-wife. We divorced two years ago. Three paroled drug smugglers I’d put away attempted to kidnap her. I couldn’t guarantee her future safety, so she left. Satisfied?”
The tightly controlled admission belied the ugly truth. He’d failed at the most important job a man had—to protect his woman. He’d given her the divorce she’d asked for and thrown in the house and the car, but guilt ate a hole in his heart he refused to ever let another woman fill.
“But they didn’t kidnap her, did they?” Petra persisted softly.
“No thanks to me.” Bitterness shook his voice. “She escaped when their car stalled.” He began to pull away. “She’s alive today because the perps forgot to fill the gas tank.”
The insult stung like a slap. “Excuse me?”
“A woman who’d dump the man she loved due to an attempted kidnapping is a wimp. Marriage is a partnership.”
“Our marriage put her life in danger. She did the smart thing by leaving.”
“Cluck. Cluck. Cluck.”
Dammit all to hell. He raised his upper body on one arm, rigid with a fierce anger that erupted from a dark place in his soul that didn’t bear visiting. The woman insisted on pushing his buttons.
Careful to rein in his temper, he replied evenly, “Any sane person in Kate’s place would have done the same thing. I didn’t protect her. Yes, she was scared. She had every right to be.”
“I would have stayed.”
The stalwart declaration speared his solar plexus like a needle into a balloon, allowing the anger to escape. A sheen of moisture glistened on serious burnt gold eyes staring up into his. She meant it.
He didn’t know what to say.
Have a wonderful July!
About Madelle Morgan
Madelle Morgan is a Canadian author who writes romance with heat, heart and humor. Her new release, Caught on Camera, is a Hollywood wedding romance set in Muskoka, Canada—summer playground of the rich and famous.
Subscribe to her blog at MadelleMorgan.com and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Wattpad.