To celebrate being finished, I'm here to share a little snippet of this book, which will hopefully find a home in the coming months. Unfortunatley, I haven't managed to come up with a title yet, but nevertheless, meet Dale and Amelia:
When Amelia Darlington breaks into her father’s hotel suite to discover why he’s been acting so vague and suspicious lately, the last thing she expects to find is someone in the middle of stealing from him. As an ex-army surgeon, she’s seen some action in her time, so when the thief makes off with a few million dollars worth of artifacts, she does the only thing a self-respecting woman like her can and chases after him.
Australian Defense and Intelligence agent, Dale McCarthy, didn’t count on the complication of a crooked diplomat’s daughter getting in the middle of his snag-and-bag operation to retrieve stolen artifacts belonging to the Australian government. However, Amelia presents an opportunity to get some inside information, so when she pursues him, he decides the best way to handle her is an abduction.
However, things take a turn toward complicated as it becomes apparent someone is trying to kill Amelia, with her father disappearing soon after. Foul play, or the guilty party on the run? Amelia turns to the only person she can trust to get her father back, even if he does have his own plans for her father’s fate.
With a corrupt businessman pursuing them, Dale has to keep Amelia alive, but also live up to the promise he made to ensure her father’s safety. But just when Dale is finally in a position to turn the tables on their enemies, a shocking betrayal puts them all in danger.
Stolen artifacts in front of him, his escape route behind him, and smack bang in the middle of that, a woman in a slinky black dress teetering on five-inch gold heels, which probably matched the dangly gold earrings peeking out from the sophisticated, yet wild mess of her black hair.
The woman brought a hand up to the middle of her chest and shuffled back a step on the thick, plush cream-colored carpet. “What are you doing in here?”
Her American accent had cultured, upper-class tones, and the husk of her voice trickled through his body like an ice-cold beer on a scorching summer day.
What am I doing here? He should have been asking her that, if he was so inclined to chat. Which he wasn’t.
Dale weighed up his options as she sidled back another step, baby-blue eyes darting around the room. No doubt her panic-stricken mind had started searching for an escape. Or a weapon, depending on her character.
So did he tie her up, knock her out, or leave her be? She didn’t look like much of a threat, and it wasn’t like she’d be going anywhere in a hurry wearing those ridiculous shoes. Hell yeah, they looked sexy, but they were one of the most impractical contraptions ever invented.
“Excuse me, Miss, but I’ve just come to get back what’s mine.” Well, technically not his. The Aboriginal artifacts stolen from the Melbourne Museum belonged to his government. However, until he handed them over to the appropriate authorities, he was calling them his.
He slid past the woman, who gasped and flinched back. Heck, did he look like the type of man to knock a chick around? Okay, he was dressed from head to toe in black, suited up with tools and weapons enough to be a one man tactical team. But guys who hurt women were total wankers, and he wasn’t a wanker. Really, the whole knocking-her-out thing earlier hadn’t even made the list. Though tying her up might have to be an option.
A noise out in the hall neutered that idea quick smart. He didn’t have time to stuff around with her. She was an interesting complication, but he had to stick to the mission object and get out.
He stopped at the shiny cherry-wood table where an easy four-million dollars worth of Aboriginal art had been left out on casual display, and ducked out of the secure pack he’d had bandoliered across his chest. In a matter of seconds, he’d started packing down the artifacts, his movements quick but careful. God and country save him if he damaged one of these babies on the uptake.
“Hey! You can’t take those, they belong to my father!” The woman had come up beside him, and actually had the nerve to grasp his arm. A subtle scent, warm and rich like spiced summer berries, invaded his sinuses as he packed down a couple more items.
And that explained what she was doing here. She was the daughter of the scumbag who’d arranged to have these items stolen; a diplomatic scumbag who’d used his diplomatic immunity for all manner of illegal no-no’s.
Dale twisted his limb out of her grasp and turned the tables on her, grabbing her elbow in a vice-like grip as he faced her. Those baby-blues, rimmed in thick, dark lashes, widened as he leaned closer to her.
“These artifacts belong to the Australian government, so unless you want a one way trip Down Under to be put up in a first-class Aussie prison, I suggest you step back and shut up.”
Her eyes narrowed on a glare, while her breath came in short gasps, which did damn interesting things to the low-dipping neckline of the slinky dress.
Another time, another place…
Yeah, he could have gone there. For a second he let himself get taken in by her bold stare, waiting to see what she would do.
She took a deeper breath and then let it out on a long exhale, her body relaxing a little. “Fine, let me go. I won’t try to stop you.”
“Good choice, baby.” He released his grip on her and turned back to continue packing the artifacts. A moment later he’d finished and secured the strap of the bag back across his chest, tugging to get the fastening nice and tight.
As he spun away from the table, a flash of movement put him on the defensive. The woman was back, this time brandishing one of the heavy, no doubt freaking-expensive lamps. She heaved it at him, putting her whole body behind the attack.
Hell, doesn’t this Yankee chick know anything? Dale ducked the weighty projectile, not even flinching as it crashed into the wall behind him. He came up on the balls of his feet in time to catch the woman as she pitched forward off her ridiculous, too-high shoes.
**Disclaimer: This extract has been taken from an un-edited draft. Some difference may appear between this post and the final product.**