I'm pleased to announce that I recently signed a contract with Passion in Print for a two story novel, Blown Away. The release will be out in November and I thought I'd treat you to a couple of short excerpts.
Strike one. MacKay stared down at the application. A jar-head, just what she needed. Her eyes traveled down the screen. Sapper—okay, at least he knew something about explosives, but most of them were either insane, cocky or both.
Trusting someone to watch your back could get you killed. Trusting someone like that—well, you just didn’t do it. Plus the stuff they used to blow things up on Earth wasn’t nearly as complicated as what the EOD, Explosives Ordnance Division, found off world and had to defuse. It took a whole different kind of person to disarm instead of destroy. She looked up and he gave her a boyish grin.
He’d no clue what he was getting into.
She wouldn’t be hiring anyone if she wasn’t so backed up. The galaxy was a violent place and business was good, too good and she hadn’t been able to keep up. People were getting killed and she had to get help or watch more innocents die. “I see you were a Sapper and have combat experience, so I’m not going to ask you if you’ve blown anything up. Any idiot with a charge and enough explosives can do that. I want to know if you’ve defused anything. Ever worked EOD?”
“Any idiot?” His eyes lit with humor, as though her question amused him. She let her gaze slide over him and for a moment her mind wandered to places it had no business wandering. Not bad—if she were shopping for a man and not an employee. He had blond hair, green eyes and the all too familiar flat top they all wore. He also had a scar across his jaw, still pink from a recent injury. From the jagged look, she’d say shrapnel. He wore it well and it didn’t seem to bother him. He was either excessively arrogant or excessively confident. She wasn’t sure which yet. “Well, have you defused anything?”
“Enemy threats—an angry mother-in-law.”
Arrogant, definitely arrogant. “The ad specifically stated you must be single to apply.”
“Excuse me. I meant angry, ex-mother-in-law.” He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. The front feet came off the floor as he tipped back and leaned the chair against the freshly painted wall. “Single and available.”
“And one second from limping if you don’t get that chair off my wall.” MacKay gave him her bitchiest stare. Why the hell did he think she cared if he was available?
The chair dropped back to the floor and he leaned forward, resting his elbows on her desk. “No harm done.”
Strike two. No interview etiquette. “Have you ever boarded a ship packed with enough explosives to take out half the galaxy or watched a station with over twelve thousand people assigned to it disintegrate because you didn’t understand the alien technology well enough to defuse the bomb?”
He shook his head and smiled. This time he exposed a glowing row of pristine white teeth and projected enough charm to melt her to her chair. She snorted. She’d seen his type a dozen times and he wouldn’t be sweet-talking or charming his way into a job. MacKay stared until his smile died. “You think this is funny? There are ordnance techs out there that have seen or been in those situations.”
“No, I didn’t think it was.” He shifted in his seat and glanced at the clock. “I’m trying to be friendly. Break the ice.”
“I don’t like friendly.” Strike three. Actually, she hated friendly. No one ever accused her of being Miss Congeniality and she wasn’t going to start playing the part for this guy. She refused to let herself get close to anyone. Too many people she’d cared about died. When she stopped caring, it didn’t hurt as much when something happened—and something always happened. It was unavoidable in her line of work.
Happy trail: That sexy little strip of hair that runs from a man’s belly button to his—towel. Jenna stared at the fluffy white barrier that blocked her gaze from traveling any further south. She’d enjoyed the scenic route, inhaled the hard ridges of his six pack abs and the way the water trickled over his flesh while it took the path of least resistance. She knew she shouldn’t stare. It was completely inappropriate to ogle the higher-ranking beef-cake, but she couldn’t stop. What woman in her right mind would be able to?
He cleared his throat and Jenna remembered where she was and what she was supposed to be doing. She’d been ordered to find the explosives ordnance officer and she’d searched every place on the ship from the galley to the indoor gym. As her luck would have it, her timing had been impeccable. Captain Tyson Rivers had just stepped out of the shower and to say she’d been surprised was an understatement.
No wonder he hadn’t been answering the com.
“I’m up here.”
Wasn’t that usually a female line? Heat rushed to her face and her gaze snapped up to the subject of every naughty dream she’d had on the ship since she’d boarded. Jenna opened her mouth and all that came out was silence. What was the appropriate thing to say in this situation?
Do you have a reason to be here, or do you make a habit of hanging out in the male showers, lieutenant?”
Mortification: The sudden urge to run and dive under one’s bunk until the end of the shift. “I have a reason.” If she could only remember what.
He brushed past and headed for his locker. Jenna swallowed and turned around just in time to see him drop the towel. His bare ass stood before her, hard, tight and like the rest of his body—unbelievable. She grabbed the nearest object in an attempt to steady herself. The towel bar snapped off. Jenna gasped and whipped it behind her back.
He glanced over his shoulder. “Captain send you down here?”
She gave a nervous smile and nodded. He returned his attention to the contents of his locker. Jenna glanced right and left, desperate to get rid of the evidence. She spotted her target not five feet from her loco and tossed the bar into the trash receptacle. If he heard the clunk or saw it, he gave no indication. Instead, he snatched his uniform out of his locker and began what she could only describe as a reverse striptease. First his skivvies—then his pants. Jenna swallowed. “Oh my, mother and all her sisters.” She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t think. Her body exploded with heat.
“Did you say something?”
“No.” She needed to learn to keep the internal thoughts contained. Embarrassed wouldn’t begin to cover the way she’d feel if he knew what she was thinking or how bad she’d been lusting after him these last couple of months.
“Well, spit it out. What does he want?”
“I don’t know. He…”
Dear God. He turned around now dressed in his blue and grey camo pants, no shirt and that hot happy trail staring back at her again. She swallowed and averted her gaze. “He said to hurry.”
“You don’t have any idea?”
“No,” she shook her head. Jenna reached up and put her hand over her breast in an attempt to steady her heart. She had to get control of herself or she’d stroke out for sure. Control. Focus. Breathe. One, one-thousand, two, one-thousand… It almost worked.
Until Captain Tyson Rivers gave her a grin that would make most women’s panties drop. “He said to hurry?”
Shit. She needed another towel bar. She glanced around in desperation.