While I'm still in the process of moving (drama has become my new middle name!) I thought I'd post an excerpt from my February release, THE BRIDESMAID AND THE BILLIONAIRE.
The book is in stores now, so be sure to pick up your copy! Read on for an excerpt, and if you want to get to know my hero, Kane Lennox, a little better, pop on over to eHarlequin and read his Hero blog this week!
From THE BRIDESMAID AND THE BILLIONAIRE, February 2009,
Diamond Brides series
Kane Lennox’s bare feet sank into the new spring grass, his toes disappearing between the thick green blades like shy mice. He’d slept on mattresses that cost as much as a small sedan, walked on carpet that had been hand-loomed in the Orient, and worn shoes made to order specifically for his feet by a cobbler in Italy. But those experiences paled in comparison to this one. Comfort slid through his veins, washing over him in a wave, lapping at the stress that normally constricted his heart, easing the emotion’s death grip on his arteries.
He halted mid-step, tossing the conundrum around in his mind. How could something so simple, so basic, as walking barefoot on grass, feel so wonderful?
“What on earth do you think you’re doing?”
Kane whirled around at the sound of the woman’s voice. Tall and thin, her blond hair hung in a long straight curtain to her waist, flanked by tight fists propped on her hips. Her features were delicate, classic, with wide green eyes and lush dark pink lips, but right now, her face had been transformed by a mask of confusion and annoyance. In one hand, she held a cell phone, her thumb over the send button. 9-1-1 just a push away.
Not that he could blame her. Even he had to admit what he was doing looked…odd. Out of place. Kane put up both hands. The see, I’m okay, not carrying any lethal weapons posture. “There’s a perfectly logical explanation for my behavior,” he said. “And my presence.”
She raised a dubious brow, but looked a bit worried, even apprehensive. “A total stranger. Barefoot. On my sister’s lawn. In the middle of the day. Uh-huh. I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for that.” She turned, casting a hand over her eyes, shading them from the sun. “Either there’s some cameraman waiting to jump out of the shrubbery with a ‘Surprise, you’re on “Candid Camera”’ announcement, or you’re here on some loony bin field trip.”
He laughed. “I assure you, I’m not crazy.”
Though the last few weeks had driven him nearly to insanity. Which had pushed him to this point. To the small town of Chapel Ridge, in the middle of Indiana. To--
Being barefoot, on, as she had said, her sister’s lawn, in the middle of a bright April day. Okay, so it was mildly crazy.
“That leaves the “Candid Camera” option, which I’m definitely not in the mood for, or…trespassing.” She held up the phone like a barrier against a vampire. “Either way, I’m calling the cops…”
“Wait.” He took a step forward, thought better of it, and backed up. As his gaze swept over her a second time, he realized she looked familiar, and now knew why. “You must be…” He racked his brain. Usually he was so good at names. But this time, he couldn’t come up with hers. “The sister of the bride. Jackie’s sister.”
“I get it. You’re a detective who does his best thinking in his bare feet, is that it?” She gave him a sardonic grin. “Must have been tough, putting all the puzzle pieces together, what with the ‘Congratulations Jackie and Paul’ sign out front, the paper wedding bells hanging on the mailbox. Oh, and the happiness emanating from the house like cheap perfume.” She paused mid-tirade. “Wait. How do you know who I am?”
Kane gave her an assessing glance, avoiding the question. “What’s made you so disagreeable? Are you allergic to white or something?”
She sighed and lowered the phone. “I’ve had a rough day. A rough life and--“ She cut herself off again. “How do you do that? I’m not telling you a single thing about me.”
“Listen, I’ll just get out of here and leave you to your day. I’ve clearly come at a bad time.” He bent over, picked up his Tanini Crisci Italian leather dress shoes and started to leave.
“Wait.” She let out a gust.
He turned back and for a second, Kane swore he heard a spark of himself--of the last few months, the days that had driven him to this town, to this crazy idea--in that sound. Then, just as quickly, it was gone, and the spark of distrust had returned.
“You still haven’t told me why you’re on my sister’s lawn, barefoot, in the middle of the day.”
Kane’s jaw hardened. “We’re back to that again?”
“When did we ever leave that topic?” She parked her fists back on her hips, the cell phone dangling between two fingers.
Telling her why he was here, and what he was doing, involved getting into far too many personal details. If he started opening up about his problems, he’d have all of Chapel Ridge--all four thousand, nine hundred and ten residents, as it were--knowing his identity--and there’d go his plan to enjoy some much-needed R&R.
He had no intentions of telling anyone anything. Particularly Jackie’s sister.
Susannah Wilson. That was her name. Suzie-Q, Paul called her, like the packaged dessert.
Before she could question him further, he headed over to his little blue rental car, a cheap American model, light years away from the silver convertible Bentley Azure he usually drove. The rental was non-descript, plain. Like something anyone else in the world would be driving. And perfect.
Susannah followed him. Not one to give up easily, that was clear. “You still didn’t answer my question. Who are you? And why are you here?”
“That’s two questions. And I don’t have to tell you anything, either. It’s a free country.”
He could almost hear her internal scream of frustration. Oh, this was going to be fun.
She scowled. “Trespassing is a crime, you know.”
He grinned. When he’d booked this trip, he’d had no idea there’d be a fringe benefit of this little fireball. “Only if you’re not invited. And I was invited.” He paused a beat, watching her eyes widen in surprise at the word ‘invited,’ waiting to deliver the last punch of surprise. “I’m the best man, after all.”
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