Harlequin Blaze, November 2010
ISBN 13: 978-0373795826
Oh, the Bahamas. What a perfect place for a fling! Or is it?
Carrie Stanfield is there on assignment with the hottest guy ever! The chemistry between them is more volatile than the tropical storm that strands them on a deserted island. So why the heck won’t Patrick McKay touch her already?
Patrick would love to get his hands all over Carrie’s sweet body. Unfortunately, he’s been fooling around with a charm that makes touching another person very hard. But not touching Carrie is making him even harder…
It’s not looking very good for these two. Then again, when you mess around with magic, the most seductive things can happen….
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E x c e r p t
Patrick’s arms were still tightly crossed as Carrie got up from her chair, studying Patrick’s body language carefully, her gaze moving over him and ending at his green eyes.
“What is it?” he asked, watching her carefully.
“I’m just trying to figure you out, that’s all.”
He was quiet for a moment. “There’s nothing for you to figure out. With me, what you see is what you get.”
“Sure it is.”
He held firmly on to his poker face that gave her no clues about what his problem might be. “Settle in, freshen up, and meet me by the pool in an hour. We may as well use the extra time we’ve been given to do some telekinetic exercises.” He raised an eyebrow and there was a momentary glimpse of that warm humor she remembered seeing once in his eyes and drew closer to her, so close for a half a second she actually thought he’d brush up against her. “So there are no more accidents involving glassware.”
Her face flushed at that and she chose not to comment. Instead her attention moved over his face to his throat. He’d undone the first couple of buttons on his black shirt to show off a tantalizing glimpse of his toned upper chest. “What’s that?”
“That.” She pointed at the small, crudely engraved tarnished silver disk that Patrick wore on a thin black leather rope around his neck. “Doesn’t really suit you.”
He brushed his fingertips over it. “That’s why I wear it under my clothes.”
“What is it?”
“Just something I wear.”
“It looks Egyptian. Are those hieroglyphics?” At his raised eyebrow. “I took Egyptology as an elective in college.”
He covered the pendant completely with his hand, then did up a button so it was covered again. “Like I said, meet me in an hour if you want to practice. If not, I’ll catch up with you later.”
It looked as if she’d hit a sore spot by questioning him about that piece of jewelry. Interesting. “No, I’ll be there. Practice makes perfect, after all.”
“We’ll get the amulet first thing tomorrow. If it really is a danger, I’ll destroy it here. Otherwise, I’ll take it back to PARA to go into the vault. We can be back in Mystic Ridge in forty-eight hours or less.”
“Barely enough time to get a good tan before we’re wading through snow again.”
“Try to remember that this is a business trip, not a pleasure trip.” He blinked. “Why are you smiling at me?”
“You sound like a boss.”
“You used to be.”
He exhaled. “I used to be a lot of things.”
“I noticed you didn’t shake Will’s hand.”
He was silent for a moment. “What’s your point?”
“Just a bit strange, is all.” She studied his hands he currently had fisted at his sides. “Why don’t you touch anyone anymore?”
“Because I choose not to.”
He was close enough that she could feel the heat from his body. If she wanted to touch him, all she’d have to do is reach forward and slide her hands over his chest. But she didn’t.
“Ever?” she asked.
“You touched me when I started last week. Am I special?”
He began to look vaguely amused by her onslaught of questions. “It was only a brief handshake. Don’t get too excited.”
Again her cheeks flushed. Patrick McKay was the first man capable of making her blush in years. “But you didn’t even shake Will’s hand, and he’s a client. I’d think you’d make an exception for him, too.” She cocked her head as she studied his tense expression.
“What?” he asked warily.
“What would you do if I touched you right now? Right here?”
He held her gaze for a long moment. “Nothing. But I’d probably consider it very unprofessional behavior that you couldn’t keep your hands to yourself, Ms. Stanfield.”
She’d take it as a slap on the wrist if she didn’t see the heated look in his eyes. “Yes, sir.”
His jaw tensed. “Beach. One hour.”
“Okay.” As she turned and walked away, she realized she was smiling. After all, she did love a mystery.
And Patrick McKay was a tall, blond, handsome mystery she was determined to solve. Whether he liked it or not.
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