Reese Adams, an unsophisticated, distrustful private investigator and part-time homicide clerk in Denver’s police department, sets out to help Ethan Chamberlain, refined banker and heir to a world renowned antique establishment, solve the mystery of his sister’s disappearance.
Chamberlain’s even-temperedness collides with Adams’s fiery nature and the past she wrestles with when they search for answers about his sister’s disappearance and the improbable attraction they have for each other.
A chill darted up Reese's spine. Now that was annoying. She didn't want chills, hot or cold, shooting through her because of him. Her first impression of Ethan Chamberlain still stood. Abrupt, business-like, maybe not as stuck up like she originally thought, but arrogant. Reminded her of a few detectives she'd worked with who, because they busted some cases, earned commendations and dozens of attaboys, thought they were gods treading among lesser humans. Okay, maybe she was being too harsh on him, after all he was at work, had a reputation to maintain, blah, blah. But he'd been the same way on the phone last night and the same way the other two times she'd seen him. Was that pole he had stuffed up his butt a permanent fixture, or what? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Armed with a carton of chocolate milk, generic white bread and fake American cheese, Reese climbed in bed and buried beneath the triple-decker layer of covers. She stuffed herself with make believe cheese sandwiches and felt the claw in her stomach retract, but the miserable mood didn't. This was Thursday, a day she always looked forward to. No students. The day a blank horizon just waiting for her to fill it however she chose. Problem was, she had no interest in doing anything. She'd turned into a human potted plant, which probably should worry her, but she really didn't care enough to worry. That worried her. Reese realized she was in some kind of temporary emotional crisis, a term the shrink had used more than once during their three-month stint together. But she was dealing with it in her own way. If society didn't approve of her method, to hell with them. Cards were dealt and you either passed, raised or folded. She'd chosen to pass.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (warning: spicier than the above excerpts)
The predicted one to two inch snowfall held its breath until five minutes after Reese left for Ethan's. At the first traffic standstill the Jeep's heater whined and quit blowing tepid air. Beating on the dash only stopped the sound temporarily, made the air blow colder and windshield wipers quit wiping. She drove the rest of the way with her left arm crooked out the window, swiping at the windshield to clear it. The porch light was on when she pulled into Ethan's driveway at six-fifteen. Her left hand, ear and feet were past numb and her temper stoked. Damn car. Idiot drivers. She stomped up the steps. "You better have meant what you said about using your tub," she muttered. She raised a hand and hesitated, unsure if it would be safe to knock on the door's stained glass flowers and vines. She spotted the doorbell just as the door opened. It was impossible to tell if she shuddered because of the cold or the thaw. A flash flood of heat struck every frozen limb, bone and muscle in her body at the sight of him. Without a word he pulled her inside. Ice blue eyes raked over her and mouth came down hard on hers. She smelled the starch in his shirt as his arms wrapped around her like a snug coil. But only for a minute. He tore her jacket off her shoulders, freed the flannel shirt from her jeans and slipped his hands under. He hissed in a breath when he found her bare beneath the soft cotton. He kissed the corners of her mouth, cheekbone, ear. "You're late," he whispered, nipping her lobe, running his tongue down her neck. "I know...I'm sorry...traffic, the snow. Jesus, Ethan, give me a minute to–" She was melting, turning into human pudding right here on his pretty wood floor. There'd be nothing left of her for a crime scene crew to scrape up if he didn't get his mouth off her neck, right now. Which he did. From neck back to her lips, which she couldn't do a damn thing about except respond with her own fevered kisses, opening, tasting him, delving into the warmth of him. He fisted her hair in his hands, whirled around and backed her against the wall. It had never been like this before, this much urgency, this drowning need, but Reese had known he could do this to her, could make what they had together more than sex. She'd imagined it, was scared by it, excited by it. He tore at her shirt now, his mouth not leaving hers. She ripped his shirt loose from his waistband, whimpered with joy when she laid a cold hand on hot skin, felt it quiver when she brushed the line of soft hair down the center of his stomach. Desperate to feel flesh and muscle, she fumbled with his shirt buttons as he thumbed her jeans open, shoved them down and raked greedy fingers down her thighs, demanding, craving more of her in his hands. Snatching the shirt down her arms, he sunk his mouth into the rise of her breasts, moaning with pleasure at the taste of her skin. He wanted to bury himself into her right here, but when she fumbled at the clasp on his slacks, he shook his head, grabbed her wrists. "No. I want you wrapped around me," he swooped her into his arms and headed for the stairs, "over me, under me. I want you in my bed." Her fair skin was flushed, amber eyes heavy with lust. And that mouth. If he'd had to think about it another minute without touching or tasting, he'd have gone mad. "I have to have you." "You gave me some pretty good clues, Chamberlain. I figured that out already."