Five weeks ago Carly Drake stood at her grandfather’s grave. Now she’s burying Drake Trucking’s top driver, and the cops have no leads on the hijacking or murder. Faced with bankruptcy, phone threats and the fear of failure, Carly has to team up with the last man she wants to owe—Lincoln Cain.
Cain is magnetic, powerful, controlling—and hiding more than one secret. He promised Carly’s granddad he’d protect her. The old man took a chance on him when he was nothing but a kid with a record, and now he’s the multi-millionaire owner of a rival firm.
But Linc’s money can’t protect Carly from the men who’ll do anything to shut her down, or the secrets behind Drake Trucking. If she won’t sell out, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close . . . and fight like hell.
By Kat Martin
The helicopter flight back was quick and uneventful. By the time they reached the ranch house and she made her way into the kitchen, her heart hurt and despair had her mouth so dry she could barely speak.
As if he had some kind of special Carly radar, Linc followed her and just stood watching.
“What happened today?” he asked, the unnatural calmness in his tone putting her on alert. “Something happened that changed things between us. What was it?”
He was amazingly perceptive. She thought about lying, but it wasn’t worth the effort.
“Sophia happened. She reminded me of the way things really are.”
“Sophia Aiello?” He frowned. “What does Sophia have to do with anything?”
“She came to see you. You didn’t have time for her, but I’m sure she’ll forgive you.”
“I’ve never slept with Sophia.”
“You have a date with her next week. Were you going to tell me the truth or make something up?”
A knot of anger surfaced in his jaw. “It’s just a PR stunt to raise money. I have no interest in a woman like that.”
She didn’t believe him. She wished she’d never met him.
“I want to go home. I’ll sleep in one of the other bedrooms tonight, but tomorrow I’m going home.”
His jaw went harder. “You’re not leaving. I’m not letting you put yourself in that kind of danger.”
“You can’t tell me what to do.”
“You don’t think so? I’ll tell you this--I’m not letting some spoiled, self-absorbed female I don’t give a damn about ruin what’s happening between us.”
Her head came up. “Nothing’s happening. It’s just sex.”
“Is it?” He stalked toward her, caught her shoulders. He was mad, furious. She didn’t understand why he was so angry.
“I don’t know where this is going. But if Sophia upset you that badly, I mean more to you than just sex. We’re going to see where this leads. We’re not going to let other people decide the outcome.”
He fisted a hand in her hair to hold her in place and his mouth crushed down over hers. She pressed her hands against his powerful chest and told herself to stop him, that he was just saying the words every woman wanted to hear.
But what if she was wrong? What if Linc was the one man who was exactly what he seemed? She wanted to believe it so badly.
Carly struggled against him, but the heat was too much, the yearning too strong. She kissed him back with all the need she felt for him, all the hunger. She whimpered when Linc broke away.
“Another thing you should know. I’m not above using sex to get what I want. Since I know how much you like sex with me, I’m going to remind you exactly why you decided to stay with me in the first place.”
When Linc kissed her again, Carly closed her eyes and let the storm of passion roll over her.
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DMZ: A Dinosaur Thriller by Rick Chesler.
AN IMPULSIVE DECISION AT THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BORDER.
A THRIVING WILDERNESS SHELTERING A PREHISTORIC SECRET.
Six friends on a tourist trip to the Korean DMZ have their lives changed forever when they decide to step into a no-man’s land. But they soon discover that a border is not the only line they’ve crossed.
A revealed secret between them causes bad blood to spill over, preventing the friends from cooperating.
With the specter of capture by a totalitarian regime awaiting them should they stray too far off course, and with a pack of primordial predators roaming the woods, the wayward travelers must find a way to set aside their differences if they are to avoid becoming either political prisoners… or prey.
This is a kindle-exclusive ebook release; the ebook is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and free to borrow for Amazon Prime members. A paperback edition is also available via Barnes & Noble, Amazon and others. An audiobook edition will be available soon via Audible.
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Audiobook edition to follow.
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She’s determined to be successful−no matter who tries to stop her
Someone is willing to kill for control of Drake Trucking, a well-respected firm now run by a woman named Carly Drake. Big money is involved. And very big danger.
Multi-millionaire Lincoln Cain is determined to keep the promise he made her grandfather, the man who helped him change his life after he got out of prison. Cain has vowed to protect Carly, no matter what it takes.
Unfortunately, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close−and fight like crazy.
EXCERPT BEYOND REASON
For the second time since her return to Iron Springs, Carly Drake stood in a graveyard. On the opposite side of the coffin, between rows of granite headstones, the Hernandez family huddled together, a wife weeping for her husband, children crying for their father.
Carly bowed her head, her heart aching for the loss of a man she had known only briefly. With her grandfather’s recent passing, she understood the pain Miguel’s family was suffering. Joe Drake, the man who had raised her, the only father Carly had ever known, had died just five weeks ago.
But unlike a heart that had simply worn itself out, Miguel Hernandez, Grandpa Joe’s number-one driver, had been shot in the head, the criminals who had committed the truck hijacking still on the loose.
In the weeks since her grandfather’s death, Carly had been doing her best to run Drake Trucking, to keep the company afloat and its employees’ checks paid. She was doing the best she knew how, but Miguel had been killed on her watch and Carly felt responsible.
The harsh Texas wind kicked up, whipping blades of grass in front of the casket draped with a blanket of blood-red roses. The end of September weather was fickle, hot and humid one day, rainy and overcast the next. Strands of fine blond hair tore free from the tight bun at the nape of her neck. As Carly smoothed the strands back into place, her gaze paused on a man at the far edge of the mourners, a head taller than the men in Miguel’s Hispanic family, taller than most of the truckers or any other man in the crowd, big and broad-shouldered, dark brown hair and a strikingly handsome face.
Carly leaned over and spoke quietly to the woman beside her, Brittany Haworth, a willowy brunette who had been her best friend in high school. As if it had been just days instead of years, their friendship had resumed the day Carly had returned to Iron Springs.
“The man across from us...” Carly said. “The tall one? He was also at Grandpa Joe’s funeral. I remember him going through the line to pay his respects, but I was hurting so much I barely paid attention. Do you know who he is?”
Brittany looked at her, about her same height as Carly’s five-foot-seven inches. “You’re kidding, right? You don’t recognize him? Obviously you don’t read the gossip rags. He’s in the newspapers all the time. That’s Lincoln Cain. You know, the multi-millionaire?”
Carly’s gaze swung across the casket on the mound above the grave to the big man in the perfectly tailored black suit and crisp white shirt. “That’s Cain?”
As if he could feel her watching him, his eyes swung to hers, remained steady on her face. Carly couldn’t seem to look away. There was power in that bold, probing stare. She could actually feel her pulse accelerate. “So what’s Cain doing in Iron Springs?”
“He owns a ranch here. He was born close to here--Pleasant Hill, I think. He left to make his fortune, came back a few years ago mega-rich. It’s a fascinating story. You’ll have to Google him sometime.”
“I still don’t understand why he was at Joe’s funeral, or why he’s here today.”
“For one thing, he was one of Joe’s competitors. Texas American Transportation is one of the biggest trucking companies in the world.”
She nodded. “Tex/Am Transport. I know that, but--“
“Cain credits Joe Drake as one of the people who put him on the path to success. The Iron Springs Gazette published a couple of articles about him and Joe.”
Guilt swept over her. She’d been gone so much. Off to college at the U of Texas in Austin ten years ago, which her grandfather had paid for, then a job in Houston as a flight attendant.
She had always wanted to see the world so instead of coming home to help Grandpa Joe, she’d gone to work for Delta. She been transferred here and there, worked out of New York for a while, came back to Iron Springs a couple of times a year, but her visits never lasted more than a few days before she was gone again, flying somewhere else, off on another adventure.
Five weeks ago, she’d quit her job, given up her apartment in San Francisco where she had been based, and come home to stay. Joe’s heart condition had worsened. She’d started worrying about him, decided to come back and help him run Drake Trucking, take over some of the responsibilities and lesson the stress he was under.
She’d only been in Iron Springs a week when Joe had suffered a massive heart attack. He’d died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. By the time she’d received the call, rushed out of the office and driven like a maniac to Iron Springs Memorial, Joe was gone.
She hadn’t been there for him when he needed her.
Just as she had so many times before, Carly had failed him.
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