Friday Excerpt: Desert Heat

Desert Heat is the second book I published, with a rather prickly main character who isn’t for everyone. She does, however, have a soft spot for a good looking man, just like the rest of us, and things get a little too hot for comfort when he brings a file to her hotel room one night…



Excerpt: Desert Heat

Darren let out a deep breath when he finally entered his hotel room
several hours later. It had been a long flight to Denver, between
listening to a yowling cat who apparently did not appreciate being up in the
clouds, and watching the photographer flirt with Marie the whole way.
How had he gotten a seat right next to her anyway? He tossed his bag on
the bed and took out the manila folder containing the project’s
specifics. He sat on the bed, his back propped against the headboard,
and started reading.

He’d gotten halfway through the file when the phone beside him rang. He hesitated a moment and then picked it up.

“Hello?”

“Darren,
it’s Nell.” He opened his mouth to reply, but she didn’t pause. “Do you
happen to have your copy of the itinerary handy? Dr. Simco left hers
back at the lab, and she’s trying to decide how we can make up for this
lost time when we get to New Mexico.”

He flipped to the front of the
folder, finding the page she needed. “I have it right here,” he said,
getting to his feet. “What room is she in? I’ll take it to her.” He
tried to ignore the fact that his pulse sped up at the thought of being
alone with her, even for a few minutes.

“Room two-fifteen,” Nell
said. She seemed preoccupied, and he wondered what she was doing – or
trying to do – while talking to him. In his experience, most women
couldn’t focus on just one thing. He shook his head. At least Marie’s
room was on this floor – only a couple doors down the hall.

“Uh…okay. Thanks – I’ll talk to you later.”

Darren
stared at the phone as the connection went silent. He wondered what
Marie was doing. Working, probably. She didn’t seem like the type to
relax very often.

He put the phone down and got the plastic room key
off the table. He considered putting his shoes on, but couldn’t bear the
thought of putting his feet back into them. He padded into the hall, surprised to find room two-fifteen right across the hall from his. He
crossed the bold, flowery carpet to her door and knocked, surprised when
she opened the door almost immediately.

“Nell told me you were
coming.” Her eyes moved over his body and he fought the urge to squirm
under her scrutiny. An old t-shirt hanging loose over old jeans that
just grazed the top of his bare feet wasn’t exactly work attire. She
looked up again, and met his gaze with one eyebrow arched.

“Comfortable?”

He grinned, glancing at his feet, and noting that her
own were bare too, with surprisingly bright shade of pink polish on her
toenails. “Getting there, anyway.” He looked her over too, taking his
time to examine every detail. He’d never seen her hair down before; she
always wore it up at work. It swirled around her face and shoulders in
gentle waves, the red highlights shimmering through dark brown in the
lamp light. The business jacket she’d worn buttoned up all day was gone,
with only a thin yellow t-shirt covering her ample breasts. Wishing he
had x-ray vision, he noticed her chest moving a little faster as she
breathed. Could he be affecting her as much as she affected him?

Ever
since the party, he’d wondered if she felt the chemistry building
between them. When he’d leaned over to speak to her, it had felt like a
magnet was pulling him in. Unable to resist testing the theory, he took a
step forward. Then another. He felt a definite connection the moment he
crossed into her personal space.

“Um…did you bring the schedule,
Dar…uh…Dr. Newbury?” There was something in her tone that Darren
couldn’t quite describe. Panic? Desire, maybe? He looked into her eyes
as he held the document up. Definitely desire, he noted before she
looked away and reached for the page.

“You feel it too, don’t you?”
Mentally, he cursed himself for saying it aloud. Even if it was true, he
knew she was scared. He saw it in her tense muscles, and the set of her
jaw. Would she kick him off the team? He reached out a hand, ran a
single finger over her collarbone. She shivered.

“I…um…don’t think…”

He
slid his finger up to her neck, her pulse strong and fast under his
touch. “Good,” he said. Had she swayed closer? “Don’t think. Close your
eyes. Feel.”

Her lashes fluttered down, and he nearly groaned. She
was so beautiful. He caressed a path down her chest and up the center of
her throat to trace along her jaw. Lacing his fingers in her hair he
cupped her head, coaxing it back as he stepped up to press his body
against hers. She was so warm, melting into his chest as he leaned over
and kissed her neck, her jaw, her lips.

She whimpered, hesitating a
moment before letting him in, kissing him back with a hunger that seemed
contrary to her controlling nature. She wrapped her arms around his
neck, and he pulled her more tightly against him, backing her into the
room and letting the door swing shut. He slid his hands down to cup her
buttocks, his arousal pressing hard against the front of her jeans. He
laved once more at her lips and then kissed down the side of her neck,
bending her backward enough that he could taste the smooth place between
her breasts.

Three loud thumps came from behind him, and he glanced
over his shoulder with a frown. Marie was struggling in his arms, and he
turned back to her, noting the bright red color rising in her cheeks
and her refusal to look in his eyes. He let her go, careful to make sure
she was steady before removing his hands from her arms.

“Oh my god,”
she said, turning away from him and running a hand through her hair.
“That’s probably Scott. What was I thinking?” She turned back, distress
lining her face. “I’m so sorry. That was a huge mistake. You have to
go.”


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