Memories and Moonbeams (Book 2 of the Chessmen series)
He came seeking his missing sister but found the woman who left him years ago. After all this time, he still loved her, but she wanted nothing to do with him. Yet she was the only one uniquely qualified to help him find his beloved sibling. With great reluctance they join forces. But when another man from her past joins the hunt, a simple game of hide and seek turns into a grave matter of life and death. Her death. His death.
When wealthy Chicagoan Nicholas Shield set off to find his missing sister, he never expected to come face to face with his infamous past, let alone his own mortality. Six weeks ago, his beloved sister vanished without a word. The Pinkerton agent his father hired picked up her trail in the Colorado mountains only to abandon the search when the altitude made him sick. Now it was up to Nick to find her and bring her home.
Armed with the name of a local investigator to guide him and a chess piece he was ordered to present, Nick started his search in a hell hole of a town called Colorado City where drinking and gambling and whoring was the mainstay of life. And where Lee Wilcox, the man he expected to hire, turned out to be Lilly Kane, the woman who had left him seven years before and for whom he still pined.
The last man Lilly Kane expected to see in the wildest of the West was Nicholas Shield, the fun-loving, irreverent hedonist who had fathered her child. The man she once loved, the man she now hated. Because of him she had remade her life not once, but twice, and no one was going to upset her world ever again. Or so she thought… until he reentered it, all virile masculinity, apologetic, and desperate to find his sister. Deep down she knew she was the only one who could help him. As a secret government agent hunting sex slavers, she knew more than anyone how innocent women could be unwittingly manipulated by unscrupulous flesh peddlers into working the gold camps, and she feared his sister might have fallen victim to this sad fate. Joining forces, they pledged a truce, each hoping to fulfill their mission without igniting the glowing embers still burning between them. As they pick up the trail high in the mountains, one thing soon becomes painfully clear. While they hunt for Nick’s sister, someone is hunting Lilly. And anyone standing in the way is considered collateral damage. Including Nick.
Finalist in the Hook, Line and Sinker Writing Contest
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Finalist in the Romance through the Ages Writing Contest.
Finalist in the Daphne DeMaurier Mystery/Thriller Writing Contest
Finalist in The Maggie Writing Contest
As Gray Dove’s gnarled but still nimble fingers pulled the tangle loose, she nodded toward Lilly. “Undress your man and warm him under the skins with your naked body. Wake him first. He’ll need to help.”
My naked body against his? Shock opened, then closed Lilly’s mouth. Erotic memories exploded in her mind, memories of wantonness, entangled bodies, cries of passion, his groans, and her sighs. She trembled with the remembered feel of his hardness pressed against her belly, seeking her, then filling her. His stomach muscles flat, his torso beginning to develop ridges, his—
No, it was too much to ask.
She peered down at Nick’s deathly pale face. His eyes were now open but unfocused, his breathing rapid and shallow. His violent shiver, his abject vulnerability, shredded her heart.
How many years had she fantasized about the night she and Nick would be together again, bare skin touching, hands and lips seeking?
Too many to count.
He wrapped his arms about himself, his entire body quivering violently. Dear Lord, he was freezing to death, and she was ruminating over how she might react to their nakedness. Her chest filled as she sucked in air. She had to do this.
Lifting his chin with her forefinger, Lilly addressed him. “Listen to me, Nick. You need to get out of these wet clothes.”
Eyes unfocused, he nodded and shifted his hands to his shirt buttons. She pushed them away. “Let me.”
The buttons were slippery, his shirt stiff with cold. Each thrust of a fastener through its opening brought her fingers in contact with his chest. Her breathing quickened. His feathered gently across her face.
A few torturous minutes later, his shirt gaped open to the waist. Before yanking the garment out, she peered up at his face. His clear eyes were fastened on hers with an enigmatic blue gaze that said everything, yet nothing. What was he thinking?
As she lowered her eyes, she couldn’t help but notice the deep washboard ridges of his torso bared to her view, more delineated, more defined, more achingly fascinating. Nor could she help but notice the dark blond tufts of hair spiraling down the middle on their long run to what lay between his legs.
The place where her hands once roamed freely.
Dear Lord, what was she thinking?
Pushing her inappropriate thoughts away, she unbuttoned the last button, yanked his cold wet shirt free, and drew it off his arms and shoulders with some difficulty. “I’ll get your boots.”
Still shaking uncontrollably, Nick straightened his limbs and she knelt at his feet. Lilly struggled with his boots to no avail. Without thinking, she rose and sat between his open legs with her back facing him.
Gripping the boot’s toe with one hand and the heel with the other, she jerked back and found herself sprawled against his privates and a hard wall of chest muscle. Strong arms surrounded her. Damn! Her heart fluttered despite her best efforts to control her response.
Scrambling out of his hold, she dispatched the other boot with less force, and less consequence.
Rising, Lilly held her hand out and helped him up to a standing position. “Now your trousers and small clothes.”
She presented her back. “Off with all of them.”
“Um…my buttons.” His voice sounded almost amused.
Heat flooding her cheeks, she turned, and with her head down, unbuttoned his trouser plaque, though now her hands trembled as much as he shivered. Accomplishing her task, she turned her back to him once again, and thought she heard a soft chuckle behind her and the rasp of wet cloth sliding down damp flesh. Oh, heavens!
“Now what?” The sound came out almost a stutter.
“Under the buffalo robes.” And fast.