Massage therapist Rita Madison is divorced and retreating to the sanctuary of her upscale Jersey Shore hometown. At 39, she’s tired, broke, and has little trust in men. Her plan is to build her own business, spend time with her beloved aunt and walk on the beach – far from men, lies, and deception. But the idyllic locale she remembers from her childhood no longer exists. Her aging aunt is facing a bleak financial situation, and a series of incidents are plaguing her new business, threatening to derail her new life and livelihood.
To complicate matters further, two attractive men enter Rita’s life: a down-to-earth yet secretive carpenter who claims he is looking out for her aunt and a wealthy, smooth-talking businessman who offers her a trouble-free life every chance he gets. While Rita untangles the finances of her aunt, she must decide if she can learn to trust and love again. But is she putting her trust, and her heart, in the care of the right man?
The deck steps behind her creaked. Rita froze, holding her breath, straining to hear what she couldn’t see.
Rita turned her head as a tall figure loomed over her. Rough hands grabbed her wrists, pinning them behind her back, and crushing her body into the door. Her car keys jangled loudly as they hit the porch. She opened her mouth to scream but couldn’t make a sound.
“Don’t move a muscle and you won’t get hurt!” a deep voice growled inches above her ear. Hot moist breath brushed against her neck as she tried to think.
She struggled to break his grasp, to escape the intense smell of musk and salty sweat. The muscles of his abdomen tensed into her back, his chest hair scratched like bristles on her shoulders. Sand scraped her wrists as he clamped them together with one huge hand. She was in good condition but no match for his strength. His free hand pawed her breasts, searched the cleavage of her spandex sports bra, slid down her stomach and over her tight knit shorts, stopping only when he felt her smooth thighs. “No,” she moaned, tears flooding onto her cheeks. “Don’t!”
She panted, her chest cramped. Scream? Who would hear her above the surf?
“Please,” she begged, “Please, don’t hurt me.”
When the corpse of an unidentified species is found in the woods near Pine Haven, New Jersey along with a human female, anthropologist Edie Campbell is called in by local law enforcement and the medical examiner to help identify the strange humanoid male. The discovery of a heretofore unknown species is thrilling for Edie, up until she realizes the creature has recently mated with the human female.
Questions form with no apparent answers until Aidan LaMont arrives in Pine Haven to identify his cousin’s body. But the secretive Aidan hides as much of the mystery surrounding the strange creature as he explains. And Edie has no doubt that behind his simmering sexuality and amber eyes, he knows much more than he’s willing to tell.
“I’m looking for what killed my cousin.”
Long mink-colored lashes slid shut, hiding her gorgeous eyes. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” A gentle touch on his arm made him stiffen in reaction. Her eyes opened again. “I’m even sorrier for the media intrusion into your family’s sorrow. Chief Urich tried to keep it quiet.”
Aidan wanted to shrug and show it didn’t matter to the Immorati, no one would be able to get close enough to the compound to intrude on their mourning, but he remained silent. “And what is your part in all of this?”
He raised a brow in query. Silence descended on them right before Cletus stepped into their space, cutting off the question even as it formed in Aidan’s mind.
“You need to remove her from this place.”
Aidan understood and took her hand in his and walked to the road. The last thing he wanted was for her to see a Corpesetti in full hunt. He and Cletus might be able to bring him down, but the woman would be a liability.
A crash through the brush was followed by an unmistakable stench. Aidan pushed the girl to the ground, throwing his body on top of her in protection. He felt the air whoosh from her lungs and her breathing stop. Damn, he might have hurt her.
Movin' Up With J.J.
Alexandra Coulter awaits the temporary worker needed for her Movin’ Up crew to pack and relocate the offices of a patent attorney. When a man strolls toward them, she assumes this is the temp and shouts out instructions. She has a business to run and a deadline to meet, and can’t get distracted by the handsome stranger.
Jacob Edward Chamberlain, Jr. needs to retrieve trade secrets left unsecured, and figures joining the moving crew will accomplish this without jeopardizing his practice. What J.J. doesn’t share is the offices are his and his father is running for New Jersey governor.
Will Alex’s wish to experience something more enjoyable in life than work triumph over J.J.’s deception about his identity?
A bead of sweat trailed down her forehead and landed smack-dab on her eyelash, causing momentary blindness as Alexandra Coulter heaved a bundle of flattened cardboard boxes out the back of the box truck. She blinked, clearing her vision just in time to see her throw land dead center atop the growing pile on the loading dock of the Chamberlain Professional Office Building, their current work location.
Where the heck was the temp the agency had promised? Her employees, middle-aged Walt and fresh-out-of-high-school Jerry, had already pulled their hand trucks onto the dock and were unfolding the pieces and screwing them together. The three of them were just about ready to go, but they really needed a fourth person for the day’s job.
Alex paused to lift her heavy ponytail off her neck and fan away the dampness at the collar of her coveralls. Only ten after seven in the morning, and already New Jersey’s July heat and humidity had her dreaming of cooling tropical breezes and icy drinks dressed with umbrellas. Plus, the moisture and the rancid odor of the spring’s dying vegetation pressed in on her sinuses, limiting her to shallow breaths. Thank goodness the building manager had handed over the air conditioning override card. At least they could be comfortable while they were inside the building.