Available now on Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I13NB9U
Daring to Love
A woman who reads hearts…
“Help me…” As an empath working for an organization dedicated to locating missing children, Liz MacKenzie is accustomed to using her unique abilities to sense the emotions of others. She’s not accustomed to hearing them call for her. That’s the specialized skill of a telepath.
A man who reads minds…
Galen Keifer’s special method of interrogation involves telepathic seduction, a technique that drove away the love of his life two years ago. In spite of their rocky past, Liz has reached out to him again. He’s the one man who may be able to discover the truth about the mysterious voice calling to her.
A voice from the darkness…
Liz can’t ignore the child’s voice, one that may be connected to a dark secret in her past. Barely recovered from her last rescue mission, she doesn’t trust her own senses, or a man who uses seduction in such a devastating way. But with the possibility of a child’s life in danger, Liz and Galen can’t afford to let it get personal again. Finding the child comes first, even though their hearts and minds are daring them to love…
Chapter 1 –
Liz savored the crash of waves, the rattle of pebbles, and the sting of cool evening mist. She felt whole again—centered, and at peace with the fact not all missions ended well. Her recovery time was almost over. She drew a long deep breath and the taste of salt made her smile.
Until the tiny vibration against her thigh intruded.
She yanked the phone from her pocket and a single glance confirmed what the ring tone had already told her.
Not just no, but hell no.
With her bare feet firmly planted at the water’s edge, she drew her arm back and pitched the damn phone as hard as she could.
Now try and rattle my cage, bitch.
With breath locked in her throat, she waited for the barely visible plunk, and punched the sky with both fists. “Yes!” she shouted, grinning like an idiot.
Fred stopped, belly deep in surf, and stared at her with a perplexed expression, his eager-to-leap-into-the-waves Labrador half at war with his I-prefer-dry-land bloodhound heritage.
She laughed at his confusion. “Come on, pal, let’s celebrate.” Arms wide and welcoming, she spun in a circle, danced in the wet sand, and flirted with the magical ocean foam as it crept up the beach.
She was no longer broken. Her self-confidence and strength had been restored by six weeks of briny air and long morning runs, and the rhythm of the tides had replenished her soul.
Help me… A vaguely familiar voice whispered across her mind and shocked her into complete stillness.
Liz, help me…
The dog snored softly in an armchair under the window, apparently oblivious to Galen as he leaned against the doorframe and absorbed the essence of the world’s most frustrating woman.
He squelched a rising chuckle along with any thought of slipping into bed beside her. The dog may be harmless, but martial arts and combat training made Liz too dangerous for a sane man to risk startling her awake. Ah, but having her wake up beside him when she wanted him in her bed, well, that was something altogether different.
Memories crept in while he watched the subtle rise and fall of the blankets. He’d met her and wanted her all in the same breath. They’d been on an undercover mission posing as a married couple. The assignment lasted two weeks.
Took him twelve days to get her naked.
Less than a month later, after endless days and nights filled with stupendous sex, she’d dumped him. Threatened to “cut off his nuts and feed them to him” if he got within arm’s length. It was no idle threat. The woman was damned good with a blade.
Galen sighed. Two years had passed and he had a plan. This time around would be different. He’d take the time to make sure she understood that his job, the way he interrogated women, and the tactics he used to get inside their minds didn’t define him.
The energy in the room changed. She was awake. Fred shifted in the chair, as though he too was tuned into the woman’s psyche.
Liz was uncertain why she’d been jolted out of a dead sleep, she steadied her breathing, opened all her senses—the normal ones… and the others. She stayed motionless yet coiled. Prepared, expecting she’d have to defend herself.
A warning ripple of recognition swept through her, made her nerve endings sing. Oh hell. She fought to keep her heart-rate slow and even. Shut down the exposed pathways to her thoughts. Scrambled to decide on the best defence.
The bed dipped under his weight.
Feigning sleep could work. If he leaned over she’d make the first move, dodge his hands and make for the door. But if he managed to grab her from behind, throw her to the floor and cover her with his amazing body, well, then she’d be physically and emotionally helpless. His. Not going to happen.
“How we gonna play this, love?” His voice was deep, soft, and steeped in sexy. “Hand-to-hand, winner takes all? Or body-to-body and we both win?”
She opened her eyes and put conviction in her words. “In your dreams, Flyboy.”
“God, but you’re a piece of work.” His voice dropped an octave, went gravelly. “And I love my job.”
Heat pooled at the timbre of his voice, but the words sent a sobering chill through her. “What the hell are you doing here?”
He ran a fingertip down her naked arm. “Hoping to get lucky?”
She raised an eyebrow.
He sighed. “Okay. You requested a telepath darlin’. I’m it.”
“I specifically asked for either Johnson or Patty.” Anyone but you. It wasn’t like ETCETERA had a shortage of telepaths in their Child Rescue division.
“They’re both on other assignments.” He winked. “Besides, you know I’m the best. Why would you want Johnson when you can have me?”
“Gee, let me think. Oh yeah, maybe because he would have arrived at a decent hour, and knocked on my front door like a civilized man.” She held up her hand as he opened his mouth to interrupt. “And he would never hit on me.”
“How boring for both of you.” His sigh was obvious and exaggerated.
The murky light of approaching dawn had her glancing at the bedside clock. Five-thirty in the morning. Shit.
As though he’d read her mind—which was entirely possible—he said wickedly, “Too early to get up, too late to go back to sleep… Let’s play, Liz.”
Shrugging out of his jacket, he tossed it to the foot of the bed, unsnapped his shoulder harness, and set his SIG on the night table with care. A plain white t-shirt highlighted a body capable of making a woman’s blood pressure shoot up. Way up.
Liz tore her gaze away, lowered her eyes, and tried not to groan out loud. Soft faded denim accentuated his long lean thighs. She knew what separated them. Eyes up, quick.
Oh hell—that face.
Laugh lines, dark stubble, golden skin. Eyes able to see into her soul, and the sexiest mouth she’d ever—
The arrogant, knowing smile on his sharp-angled face brought her back to earth with a thud.
“Freeze, Flyboy.” She almost managed not to sound breathless.
He grinned. “But Liz—”
She felt her strength returning. “Don’t even think it.”
“You know you want me naked.” He slid a fingertip across her collarbone, sending a shiver right through her center.
She played up the huskiness in her voice. “I want a lot of things, Flyboy, but right now what I want most is you,” she hesitated just a heartbeat, the devil made her do it, “out of my bedroom.”
He reached for the sheet as she dragged it up under her chin. “Sex in the living room? Maybe out on the deck?” A single fingertip teased the sensitive flesh below her ear. “I’d love to hear you scream my name with the Pacific pounding in the background.”
“Out. Get out. Go. To the kitchen. Put on coffee. Now.”
He didn’t even flinch. “You naked under there, baby?”
He shook his head and winked at the dog still lounging in the chair. “Well, pal, at least this is better than indifference.” Chuckling to himself, he scooped up his holster and strolled out.
Liz fumed while she dragged on jeans and a bulky fisherman knit sweater. The man was impossible. He used his sex appeal as a tool—a very effective weapon—and she didn’t have much armor to protect against it.
She glared at Fred. “Some guard dog you are.”
His baleful eyes seemed to say, “Hey, not in my job description.”
released on Kindle, January 2014!
print release, February 2014.
© Kathryn Jane 2013