Samantha hadn’t intended to watch Brody Parker take a shower, only to peek in the window to see if he was in the bathroom so he could let her in the house.
But damn, that man was sexy. He was facing her, his head thrown back and eyes closed as the water cascaded over every ridge and muscle and . . . everything. She had to look, right? She might have taken a vow of celibacy but she hadn’t taken a vow of blindness.
You’re an absolutely pathetic loser, Sam’s inner nag said, and she agreed. Anyone who’d stand in the middle of a monsoon and ogle a man in his shower should have LOSER stamped on her forehead.
As soon as Brody stepped out of the water and saw her, his mouth and eyes battling for which could open the widest in shock, she stepped away from the window and splashed her way around the corner, returning to the back door. And yeah, giggled a little, the laughter bubbling up and spilling out before she could get it under control. She hadn’t laughed much in the last couple of days.
She’d never been quite so wet and cold in her life. The wind had picked up, stabbing horizontal blades of rain into her face as she waited at the back door. For a few seconds, she wondered if he might leave her out here, but then the door opened and he stood there with a white towel slung loosely around his hips, which would have been sexy as hell except for the black T-shirt he’d pulled on. Droplets of water dripped from his black wavy hair onto his shoulders, getting said T-shirt wet.
“Nice fashion statement.” She gave him her best lopsided smile as he moved aside to let her in. “You’re shy about going without a shirt? You have man boobs, don’t you?” Which would be a crime against nature.
“I certainly do not.” Looking offended, Brody pulled the T-shirt up, exposing a rock-hard set of damp abs and nice, firm pecs without a trace of man boob. He jerked the shirt back down before she started salivating, which was good, given her celibacy and all.
“Why were you leering in my bathroom window?” He cocked his head. “Are you stalking me? How long had you been watching?”
Not nearly long enough. “Just a few seconds. I knocked on the door earlier and you didn’t answer.”
He glanced out the door, where the rain almost obscured the garage. “Where’s your car?”
“Ah, that’s the real story. Do you have a fire lit?”
Brody closed the door, shutting out the hiss of rain hitting the slate courtyard. “Not yet. I was going to do it as soon as I showered. Give me a minute to get dressed.” He made no attempt to leave, though, but instead treated her to a head-to-toe visual inspection that she could swear grew a little heated when his gaze landed on where her soaked, thin sweater clung to her breasts.
Her nipples perked up just to make sure he could see them, the traitors. They didn’t want her to be celibate. They wanted to be touched and licked and nibbled on, even if the attention came at the lips and tongue and teeth of the man who’d deliberately punctured her tire.
Shhh…..It’s a Secret
Winston Churchill once called Russia “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” I’ve always liked that quote, but when I started writing the book that became Deadly, Calm, and Cold, I hadn’t really planned to write one of those riddle-mystery-enigma thinga-ma-jigs.
It’s all my characters’ faults. Because, you see, they have secrets. Every last one of them.
There are four primary characters in the book—a hero, a heroine, a bad guy, and a guy who is morally gray.
First, there’s Brody Parker, our hero, which might not be his real name. He’s an American artist living in rural England who knows an awful lot about cyber security, has a smokin’ hot workout body, carries a gun alongside his easel, and is afraid of spiders. Well, you just know this landscape artist has a secret or two, and he’ll do almost anything to keep them. Which makes him very unhappy when his space is invaded by….
The heroine, Samantha Crowe, which might not be her real name. Her story is mostly true—that she’s an American graduate student in England to study what happened back in the 13th century when “Bad King John” managed to lose the crown jewels, which were never recovered. She’s just leaving out the part about how she’s being blackmailed into finding those jewels and using Brody to do it. But she can’t tell him the truth because everywhere she turns, there’s…
Tom, which is really his first name although Brody and Sam don’t know that for sure. Tom and his wife Donna, who live in London, have made some very bad decisions over the years. Tom’s made bad decisions for good reasons, bad decisions for bad reasons, and got in way over his head in a situation he can’t find a way to escape. Unless he can somehow use Brody Parker and Samantha Crowe, his blackmail victims, to help him. But that’s really hard to do because looking over his shoulder is…
Brent Sullivan, which is his real name, although Samantha knows him by a different identity altogether. Brent grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in the San Francisco Bay area, so power is everything to him. Well, and money. Which is why he so badly wants to find…
King John’s lost crown jewels. Lost in the English East Midlands eight centuries ago, the crown jewels are considered one of the world’s great lost treasures. Some historians believe the baggage train in which they were being transported was lost in quicksand. Others believe John gambled them away, or hid them so they couldn’t be seized by the church that had excommunicated him or the rich landowners who’d already forced him to sign the Magna Carta.
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual.
She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning with Lovely, Dark, and Deep.
Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.