GENRE: contemporary romance
After fifteen long, dangerous years in the service, Navy SEAL Clay Pickett is ready for his new mission: build a model sustainable community and show the world an exciting alternative to a consumption-based life. If that means he’s got a deadline to find a wife in order to win the reality TV show that’s filming his sustainable adventure, so be it. He’s got just the woman for the job in mind: beautiful, dedicated Nora Ridgeway.
When Nora left her job as a school teacher in Baltimore to live a simpler, Jane Austen style life in Montana with her friends, she was relieved to escape the escalating threats of violence from an unknown student stalker, but she can’t help feeling she’s abandoned the other high schoolers who put their faith in her. She’s torn about Clay’s advances, too. On the one hand she’s never met anyone like the strong, sexy SEAL. On the other hand, life’s taught her to take relationships slow—and Clay’s on a deadline.
When arson strikes and Nora disappears, Clay knows he’ll need every trick he learned in his time with the SEALs to track her down and save her life.
Can two people caught by their pasts have a chance at a future?
Clay wrapped an arm around her waist, pulled her to him and explored her mouth with his, deepening the kiss until she clung to him, dizzy with the sensations swirling inside of her.
“We’ve got to take this slow,” Nora gasped.
“Slow?” Clay said. He searched her face. “What does that mean, exactly?” His breathing was uneven. Nora knew he wanted her and knew she was close to giving in to him. She wanted it too. But how would she feel tomorrow?
Clay visibly struggled get himself under control. “That’s a tall order,” he confessed with a lopsided grin.
“I know.” She hoped he had the self-control to pull it off. She wasn’t sure she did.
“Just kissing,” he agreed after a moment. “But a whole hell of a lot of it.”
“That’s perfect.” As he bent toward her, she met him halfway.
An hour later, when Clay walked her to the manor, Nora was practically panting with the need to be made love to. She ached for Clay’s touch—wanted so badly to be with him.
“I’m never getting to sleep,” Clay murmured in her ear when they paused outside the manor’s front door. “Can I at least think of you while I… you know?”
“Only if I can think of you,” she said honestly. She couldn’t even pretend she wouldn’t do the same as soon as she was upstairs alone. No way could she sleep in this state.
“We could help each other,” Clay suggested.
“No, we can’t,” she said sadly.
“Why not?” He pressed another kiss to the base of her neck and Nora felt herself slipping, wanting to give in.
“Because if you touch me much longer, I’m going to beg you to take me,” she confessed.
“I want to.”
“I want you to, too.”
She knew all that Clay wanted to say. This was crazy. It was agony. It wasn’t fair.
But it was the way it had to be. In the morning light they’d still be at Westfield. Clay would still have to marry within two months. That still wouldn’t be long enough for them to really get to know each other.
Reluctantly, Nora stood and crossed the room as directed. She knew there was no getting out of these interviews, but she wasn’t looking forward to them. I’m here to write, she reminded herself. There’s nothing remotely interesting about me. Viewers will get bored of me in about two minutes and then everyone will leave me alone.
She felt pretentious posed by the piano, especially since she didn’t play, but Renata seemed happy with the arrangement. When the camera man was satisfied that the light was acceptable, she began.
“Clay’s pretty hot, huh, Nora? All those muscles?”
Nora blinked. She opened her mouth, then closed it again. “I… uh…wouldn’t know,” she finally gasped.
“Funny, you couldn’t keep your eyes off of him in our meeting just now.”
“I… I’m not—I didn’t… That’s not true!” Nora was appalled. She hadn’t pictured anything like this when she’d agreed to be on the show. It wasn’t that she was naïve—she knew what reality television was like, but she didn’t expect to be attacked for looking at Clay.
“So you’re telling me you don’t find him the least bit attractive?”
“I didn’t say that!” Nora felt her cheeks heat. Damn it, she hadn’t meant to say that, either.
“So you do find him attractive.”
“I didn’t—” Nora broke off in confusion.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Renata retorted. “So which is it?” The smile she flashed at Nora was downright evil. Nora promised herself she’d get her revenge someday.
“I guess… I find him attractive,” she admitted through gritted teeth.
“He needs to marry in the next forty days.” Renata eyed her shrewdly. “Will you be the blushing bride?”
“Absolutely not,” Nora snapped. “Now, if we’re finished here—”
“Oh, no—you don’t get to leave yet.” Renata moved to intercept her when Nora headed for the door. “We’ve only gotten started.”
When Clay looked at her like that she thought she could handle anything, but Nora figured it wouldn’t do to let him know the effect he had on her. She was glad that with the big crowd gathering around the empty firepit, the cameras had too much to focus on to be filming them. “We’ve got a lot of work to do before we can think about that,” she warned him.
She bit back a smile. “Why do I get the feeling you were a handful back in school?”
“What makes you think I’m not a handful now?”
Her gaze dropped below his belt buckle. “Several handfuls, from what I’ve seen.” Nora swallowed. Maybe Clay hadn’t heard that.
“Did you seriously just say that out loud?” Clay asked her.
“I think I did.” Nora giggled, tried to cover it up and snorted instead. A laugh escaped her tightly compressed lips. She never said things like that. And she never snorted. Another unladylike sound slipped out.
“Handfuls?” he repeated. He set his plate down. “Handfuls.”
“Several.” Nora giggled again.
“Were you drinking the cooking sherry again?”
“I think Kai slipped me something.” He must have, because suddenly, perched on a log next to Clay, eating solar-cooked stew, she felt—relaxed.
Clay leaned in and kissed her neck. “We can measure those handfuls later if you like.”
“No sex. You’re not supposed to distract me from my work, remember,” she whispered back, his lips sending shivers down her spine.
“I never agreed to any of that.” he agreed. “We can at least cop a lot of feels while you’re writing, right?”
Nora laughed out loud and several heads turned their way. Clay kissed her neck again. “Can we go to your tent right now?” he whispered in her ear.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
NYT and USA Today bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/environmentalist, she ditched her California lifestyle and moved north to laid-back Vancouver Island. Like the characters in her Chance Creek series, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, and is never happier than when planting flowers or creating her next Chance Creek novel. Visit http://www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Cora Seton will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.