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Breathless Press is an electronic publisher of paranormal, erotic, and mainstream romance, releasing one to three e-books a week in a variety of downloadable formats. It is Breathless Press' mission to provide readers with quality romance books in electronic formats and to raise the standard in e-publishing. http://www.breathlesspress.com/
Meet Will Talbot, a handsome Europol spy and covert operative for the US government with a dark troubled past, major trust issues, and dissociative amnesia. Driven by guilt over something he believes he did, he has a penchant for rescuing innocent victims caught up in dangerous circumstances.
Harriet’s first solo stint as a tour director in Spain and Morocco is going well until they get lost in the medina in Tangier. There, one of her tourists becomes ill. Harriet needs to find a doctor, can’t speak Arabic, and doesn’t know how to get out of the walled city. A handsome and mysterious stranger, Will Talbot, examines the tourist, pronounces him dead, and offers to help her smuggle the body out of Morocco. At this moment, Harriet’s once-predictable life turns upside down. Little does she know that getting out of Morocco is only the beginning of an incredible adventure in pursuit of murders, smugglers, terrorists, and a meaningful relationship.
Looking back on it, I could see everything would have worked out fine if Archie Philpot hadn't chosen that particular time and place to die.
Not that he did it maliciously, mind you, nor did he exactly choose. But I'm sure if he'd thought about the welfare of the many—our tour group, to be specific—as opposed to the convenience of the one, he might have staved off the event for another ten or twelve hours. Then there would have been no problem.
Well, not exactly no problem.
But perhaps I should start when everything began to fall apart.
My name is Harriet Ruby, Tour Director Extraordinaire. Or so I'd thought. I had just begun to believe my first solo stint in Europe was a roaring success when we got lost in the medina—the ancient walled city—in Tangier.
"Let's stop here for a moment," I called to my tour group.
While they assembled, I glanced around at the souk, the market place within the city walls. It was a maze of tiny shops, tents, and winding passageways crowded with Moroccans.
"I'm never going to find my way out of here." I pulled out my cell phone and punched in my driver's number. Mario knew the route and spoke Arabic, but he had gone to fix a flat tire on our bus while I herded our fourteen tourists around the medina. That was two hours ago.
Harriet, this does not bode well for your goal of a long and successful career in the tour business.
With the back of my hand, I swiped at the perspiration popping out on my brow. "Please stay right here and don't go anywhere. I'll be right back."
All of them smiled and nodded. Grimacing, I hurried to one of the tea shops we had passed to look for someone who spoke English. No luck. I was only gone for two or three minutes, I swear—well, maybe it was five or six—but when I returned to the place where I had left my tourists, they were gone.
This was not starting out to be a good day.
"Mez Harri Boobies!" The shrill cry sliced through the confusion of sweating bodies crowding the market. An arm shot out of nowhere, and a brown hand clamped my wrist. I swallowed my shriek of surprise. Tangier was rife with hands that grabbed at foreigners.
"Mez Harri Boobies, you come queek," the man whispered in my ear. "Mezter Pillpot no good, yes? You come."
"It's R-u-b-y, not Boobie." I repeated my name for Mr. Takamura, one of the three almost-English-speaking Japanese tourists in the small group I was directing through Spain and Morocco. While my name was not destined to be in lights on Hollywood marquees, for the past twenty-four years, it had served me well enough. I had a sentimental attachment to it.
Without a reply, he released my arm. Insinuating his slight body into the crush of street peddlers, dirty children, and veiled ladies, he moved quickly out of sight. With a deep sigh, I tucked my Adventure Seekers sign under my arm and followed him, devastated by the foreboding that I would be nicknamed "Hairy Boobies" for the rest of my career as a tour director, which might not be very long after this little incident.
He penetrated farther into the ancient market through twisted, narrow passageways filled with malodorous bodies and a myriad of colors rippling in the heat—red, blue, amber, purple of clothing, goods for sale, food, tents. In pursuit, I skirted white-robed Moroccans bartering for goods, men sipping mint tea, and women painting the hands of girls with rich sienna-colored henna. The humid air, replete with an exotic mixture of scents—ginger, curry, rare perfumes, cigarette smoke, donkey dung—stirred my senses. The crowd babbled in many languages, counterpoint to the lilting melody of the seruani pipes.
"Wait!" How in the world had they gone this far in such a short time?
He hesitated for an instant, turned, and waved. Then he disappeared again. Finally, Mr. Takamura stopped in a small plaza with a colorful tiled fountain in the center, a calm refuge in the midst of chaos. In stray beams of sunlight, tiny motes of dust danced in the thick atmosphere. The Japanese gentleman waited for me to catch up, then smiled and bowed.
My gaze followed his nod. "Ohmigod!"
Archibald Philpot of London, the eldest and most distinguished of my tourists, knelt doubled over the lip of the fountain, hurling his guts. Oh, boy.
My tourists—three American and two Swedish couples and the other two Japanese—watched with helpless concern on their faces while a growing knot of Moroccans glared at us, mayhem glinting in their dark eyes.
The disbelief and thin-lipped anger on their faces indicated they were not pleased about the desecration of what was probably their water supply. I couldn't blame them. This could get dicey. A drop of sweat dribbled into my eye.
Edith Johnson, a ditzy fiftyish blonde trying to look thirty, was the first to see me. She clapped her hand to her bosom and cried, "Thank goodness you're here, Harriet. Do something."
I dropped down beside Archie. His complexion was grayish-green, his rheumy eyes were glazed over, and by the stench, I guessed the poor man might have a case of diarrhea. My stomach heaved. Swallowing hard, I managed to maintain my tour director decorum. This was definitely not in my job description.
Wendy Danforth is preparing to be a single mom with her ex-husband in jail for spousal abuse. She returns to her hometown to renew her faith and heal. Caught off guard by the handyman in residence, attraction hits, swift and piercing, but she quells her unruly emotions. She's in no hurry to get involved in another relationship. Besides, at almost nine months pregnant, she's not exactly looking her best.
Jake Roberts, hired to renovate the Danforths' house, takes one look at his employer's daughter and wants to run far and fast. He hasn't possessed an ounce of faith or been around a pregnant woman in three long years, not since his wife and unborn son died in an auto accident.
They become friends, and when her ex-husband escapes custody, Jake steps up to protect Wendy and her unborn child. Will the danger and close proximity test their friendship? Or will it lead to more? Can Jake regain his lost faith, or will it elude him forever?
Jake sat on the step with his head in his hands, undecided whether to let her know he'd overheard or pretend ignorance. How could he ignore the pain she'd suffered? More surprisingly, he realized he wanted to be there for her, to prove that not every man was prone to acts of violence. Although, like her father, he had some thoughts on what he'd like to do to her ex if he ever had the chance.
She took the matter out of his hands when she sat a couple steps below him and, placing a hand on his knee, asked, "How much did you hear?"
His head jerked up, and he searched her eyes, expecting to see anger and disgust at his audacity, but there was none. "Pretty much all of it. I'm sorry, Wendy. I didn't intend to eavesdrop, but I didn't want to barge in on you either."
"Are you all right?"
"You're asking me? After all you've suffered, I should be asking you that question."
"My suffering ended the day he was found guilty. All that's left now is the sentencing in two weeks' time, and I don't need to be there for that."
"But you're expecting his child. How is that not suffering, considering what he put you through?"
"Every life is a gift from God. I don't always understand His methods, but at least I have one good thing resulting from a failed marriage."
"Did you love him that much?"
"At first, yes, very much. He was the man I'd always dreamed about, kind, caring, and it didn't hurt that he was gorgeous to boot." She smiled at the memory, and Jake felt a distinct twinge in his gut. Jealousy? No! Couldn't be.
"Love died a slow death when the abuse started. He always made me feel like it was my fault until the day I ended up in the hospital with a broken arm and didn't go back. I realized, then, my dreams of a happily ever after were never going to happen."
"What did you do? Where did you go?"
"A social worker at the hospital made a couple of calls and arranged a bed in a shelter for abused women. My arm being broken meant I couldn't work for a couple weeks, but when I returned, I found out from my boss, Emma, that he'd been haunting the place, waiting for me to show up. She'd had to call the police on a couple of occasions.
"She became my best friend. Emma encouraged me to lay charges and file a restraining order against him, which I did. I also filed for divorce. He didn't show up in court, didn't contest it, so the judge granted the petition based on the abuse."
"I would think so." He huffed in agreement.
"I saw Clyde around from time to time after that, and he never made any effort to approach me, for which I was thankful. But the night before the divorce became final, he showed up after I got home from work. The rest, as they say, is history."
"Can you really put it all behind you that easily?"
"Believe me, Jake, it hasn't been easy. Easy started yesterday when Mama met me at the bus stop with her arms wide open. Until then, I'd hoped, but wasn't at all certain of my welcome, circumstances being what they are."
He placed a hand over hers where it still rested on his knee. "For what it's worth, I'm glad you're here. You are one remarkably strong lady, and I'm honored to be your friend."
She felt the heat of a blush enter her cheeks at his soft-spoken words. "My faith is what's strong. I had to believe the Lord has a purpose for me in this life."
Rowan's future is jeopardized by the regrets she harbors and the deadly secrets she unearths.
Obligated to give up the man she loves, Rowan O'Reilly takes over Buccaneer Bed & Breakfast. Though her heart is in shambles, she is drawn to Avery Stone, a mysterious guest who reminds her of Bjorn…and everything she lost.
Haunted by a fatal decision, Avery escapes his past in Buccaneer's attic, but he can't ignore the previous owner's peculiar death, the strange bones exhumed by the spirited Rowan…or the annoying doctor vying for her attention.
As visitors wreak havoc on Buccaneer, Rowan stumbles onto deadly family secrets and unknowingly unearths a murderer. Yet nothing, not even the threat of her predecessor's fate, can stop her from digging for the truth.
A cool breeze wafted through the open door of the garage. Alone with the bones that he and Jordan had spent the morning unearthing, Avery savored every drop of his latest Red Eye. The quiet solitude and the absence of guests suited his spirits. No one bothered him while he recreated his three little specimens. The dig had yielded two new skulls, confirming his belief he was dealing with two rabbits and a cat.
"I ran into Terry Jordan as he was leaving." From the doorway, Rowan looked at him with a haggard expression. "He told me you completed your collection."
Perspiration soaked her tank top, pasting the fabric to her chest, and mud caked the sides of her running shoes. The spirited woman wasn't self-conscious about her appearance. One more quality he admired about her, though he didn't like her ability to sneak up on him. Over the years, he'd relied on his sixth sense to warn him of someone's presence long before a noise betrayed the intruder, but for some obscure reason, Rowan shut down his inner alert system.
"Did you go running?"
"Made it to the marsh." In her hand, she held a glass half-filled with clear blue liquid. She took a mouthful. Droplets trickled down her chin, which she wiped against her collarbone. "Are you going to introduce me to the poor dead animals?"
He invited her to approach the table. "Meet Calvin, Cisco, and Rascal."
A bright smile accentuated the glow on her face. "Nice names." She scooped up Cisco's cranium and examined it from every angle. "I see markings on the frontal bone."
"Very observant." That she showed interest in the findings pleased him. "But you missed the ones at the back." He set aside his Red Eye to cup the skull. His fingers brushed her hand, and he relished the softness of her touch as he flipped the skull for a better view. "Here…and there." The tip of his index finger traced the shallow furrows.
"They don't resemble teeth marks."
"No teeth." The lines were too precise to be random animal bites. "A tool was used. Something like a pocketknife or—"
A spasm rocked Rowan's body. The skull and the glass slipped from her hands. He reached out for Cisco's remains but failed to catch the glass. It shattered on contact, spilling its contents on the cement floor.
One by one, household dogs disappear only to come back after senseless abuse. Veterinarian Jordan Powell will stop at nothing to ensure her patients' safety. Even if that means seeking help from ex-boyfriend, police officer Nate Thrillson, the man whose heart she once broke.
The last thing Nate wants is a relationship. He has an inoperable cancerous tumor in his brain and his days are numbered. Yet, he couldn’t resist Jordan.
It’s a race against time to save the dogs and the man who captured her heart. Can the doctor, who made a life out of helping animals, heal a human?
"We have to talk." His tone dripped with tension.
She turned to him. "I've had enough bad news for this week. Whatever it is can wait a couple of minutes."
He looked irked and worried, and he avoided her gaze. The moment seemed to stretch forever and Nate ran his hand over the back of his neck. Eventually, he nodded.
She indicated for him to sit at the kitchen table and pulled out the leftover lasagna Petra had brought over that morning. She popped it into the oven.
"I hope you like lasagna," she said in an attempt to start a normal conversation.
"Did you make it?"
"No." She sat across from him. "Petra did."
Why was Nate so tense? She was curious to know what he intended to tell her, but given the pained expression on Nate's face, she was also scared. From the look in his eyes, it wasn't going to be something she wanted to hear.
"So anything new about the case?"
He shook his head. Her attempt at conversation failed.
It wasn't until after dinner as Jordan washed the dishes that Nate spoke. "We have to talk."
Jordan turned to face him, the damp rag from drying the plates hung in her hands. "Can't it wait?"
"No." He stood, and walked closer to her, his stance powerful. He looked dangerous. His eyes were cold, hard, the look in them hollow and heartbroken.
She didn't expect to hear any good news so she braced for the worst. "What is it?"
Nate sighed deeply, as though stalling what he had to say. "I can't see you ever again."
Jemma Leigh Harding has drawn the attention of an unknown stalker and returns to her hometown of Somerville, a safe haven—or so she thinks—on the east coast of Canada.
Theodore Garrity is the last person she expects to see, considering how easily he walked away from her after graduation to join the army.
Their past history involves secrets Jemma Leigh is hesitant to share. When it becomes clear the stalker has followed her home, Teddy becomes her unlikely bodyguard. Will the terror and past hurts separate them forever? Or will love blaze a fresh path for their future?
EXCERPT (some adult situations):
Jemma Leigh quickly grew aware of Teddy's heated gaze. Her own increasing desire for this man decided her next words. "You know, he probably won't show up until tomorrow afternoon at the very earliest. We're probably wasting a few hours that could be better spent doing other things," she suggested. "After all, Jim would alert us if there's anything unusual going on."
"True enough. What would you suggest?" he asked, and she watched as his eyes raked over her from top to bottom. "I'm easy."
"Yes, I seem to remember that about you." She giggled as she walked toward him, trying to appear sexy, but her muscles were stiff and sore from disuse. Her cast, thankfully, replaced with an air boot for support, made getting around a lot less cumbersome. She stopped a couple feet in front of him, pulling her tank top up and over her head in one graceful move. His surprised gaze drank in the site of her, and his eyes darkened with desire. Satisfied, she turned her back and requested, "A little help here."
"Always my pleasure to help a damsel in distress." He quoted her earlier words as he unfastened the hook on her bra, freeing her breasts to fall into his greedy hands as she felt herself being pulled backward toward him.
"This probably isn't a wise move, Jemma Leigh."
Maybe not, but loving you is all I can think of now that we're truly alone.
Jemma Leigh felt the hardness of his shaft as it pulsed against her derrière. It had been so long since he'd held her like this. If things go wrong, I don't want to go to my grave without loving this kind and gentle man one more time. "I don't care whether it's wise or not. Love me, Teddy. Make love to me like you used to. Help me forget everything but you, if only for a little while."
"Ah, Jemma Love, what if he hopped a plane and rented a vehicle? We need to be alert. We can't do this, not here, not now, as much as it pains me to say so."
"Yes, we can. How can I be alert to the danger when all I can think of is you? Remembering how it felt to have you inside me, moving as one, has drove me crazy all summer. We're alone now. Just you and me. Don't let him destroy what we could be to each other," she said, turning into his embrace and taking the opportunity to run her hand up and down the ridge of his shaft. "It's been so long, Teddy. There's never been anyone but you for me." Standing awkwardly on tiptoe, she kept most of her weight on her good foot and kissed him, summoning all the passion she had stored up over the years.
Suddenly, he lifted her in his arms and carried her down the hall to her bedroom. Setting her on her feet, he asked, "Are you sure about this? If I need to stop, it has to be now."
"Don't stop." She pushed her jeans down over her hips, baring herself to his view as she finally stepped out of them. She stood boldly before him in the near darkness, clad only in silky thong panties. "Make me yours, Teddy. Let me feel you inside me once again."