When I first read about #SampleSunday on the Kindle Author blog, I thought it was a great way to highlight small excerpts of things I’m working on aside from my serial novel. So here’s an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Desert Heat, to be released on January 21, 2011. Enjoy!
Glancing down to make sure she wasn’t too rumpled, she stepped out from behind the tree and stopped short as she hit something tall and unyielding. Struggling for balance, she found herself braced against a very broad, hard chest that had to be the result of intense physical training. Large hands settled at her hips just long enough to steady her on the ridiculous spike heels that Cynthia, her lab assistant, had insisted she wear.
His touch set off a wild chain of tingling nerves that traveled throughout her body, finally settling between her legs in a surge of warmth. Shifting, she took one step back, her eyes still on the tight button-down shirt. She’d just about pay money to see what was underneath.
“Are you okay?”
Marie froze at the deep, velvety voice. She’d heard it before, but where? Her brows drew together as she looked up into the emerald eyes of Darren Newbury, Riley’s main assistant. Great. She nodded, resisting the urge to pet his chest with her fingers. He was one of the few men she’d ever thought of as “pretty”, though she was fairly certain he’d be offended at the description. Ever since they’d taken classes together, she’d had a bit of a crush on him. Her brain never seemed to work right around good-looking men, and she inevitably said something painfully stupid. Deciding early on that she’d rather admire from afar than look like an idiot, she went out of her way to avoid interacting with any man who made her drool, including this one.
“Dr. Simco?” He raised one brow, and she swallowed hard. It was happening again, just like it always did. This was her cue to say something stupid that would send him running the other way. Just like every other hunk she’d ever met.
“I’m…uh…good, fine,” she sputtered. “I was just going to talk to some colleagues over by the bar,” she said, gesturing toward the other side of the room with one hand. Unfortunately, it was the hand that held her wine glass, and the dark liquid sloshed out, spots appearing as if by magic on Darren’s bright white dress shirt. At least his jacket was black. She stared, trying to think of something, anything, to say that would make it okay.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, avoiding his eyes. A waiter passed by, and she tapped him on the shoulder. “Do you happen to have a napkin?” He nodded, handing her several from his tray. She patted at Darren’s shirt and managed only to make the stain wider.
“It’s okay,” he said, chuckling as he closed one hand over hers and took the napkins with the other. All coherent thought fled at his touch, and she froze as he leaned closer. He smiled, lowering his head until his face was just inches from hers.
“Do you want to know a secret?” he murmured.
She blinked, stunned, as if he’d asked her to solve a complex math equation. “Umm…”
“This shirt has a hole in the side. I didn’t have time to change into a fresh one, so I haven’t been able to take my jacket off all night. I was planning to throw it away as soon as I got home anyway. The shirt, not the jacket.” He straightened with a wink and buttoned his blazer, covering the worst of the splotch.
“Oh,” Marie said, still flustered from being so close to him. “I, uh, guess that’s okay then.” Not sure what to say next, she turned away. “I’ll just go find Dr. Adams now.” She dared to glance up at him one more time and saw confusion in his eyes, along with the look that said he’d just realized she was eccentric, and not in a good way.
Face burning, she made her way to the coat check, stopping only to leave her wineglass on the bar. She’d heard – and done – enough for one night. It was time to retreat to the sterile comfort of her lab and try to figure out how to win her funding for the next year.
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