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Luscious & Lethal

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Danger can lurk in the safest haven.
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Luscious & Lethal

by Mary Raimes Curtis

Book One in The Gilded River Chronicles

Release: November 9, 2012

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Editor: Nancy Bell

Line Editor: Valerie Haley

Cover Designer: Marion Sipe

Words:  110603

Pages:  300

ISBN:  978-1-77127-196-7

Price:  $5.95


 

Back Cover

All is not what it seems in peaceful Jancy’s Cove. Renowned New York model and designer, Dani Renaldo, believes her new home on the shores of the Atlantic will provide a peaceful haven after an abusive marriage and the loss of her unborn child. But peace is a rare commodity.

Someone stalks the dark shadows and a boat slides into the cove after midnight. Between unknown prowlers and an arrogant but sexy neighbour who is determined to claim her, Dani wonders if the mean streets of New York would be less hazardous to her well-being.


Excerpt:

Next morning Dani’s time was spent catching up on a slew of emails, trying to sort out the office into some semblance of order and doing three sketches for her next Luscious Rags collection. Plus some notes on a new design for a slinky gown, size two, for Meridee Crane. Meri, an old friend and rising movie star, had sent a frantic email plea in purple typeface.

HELP! Drop everything. Movie nominated for Academy Award. Need a Dani special. Double slinky with a dash of whore. Meri.

Oh, dear, Dani felt her own panic start with a twitch in her left eye, a sure sign her blood pressure was going to crank up. She sorted through her file folders and found Meri’s and hoped she hadn’t gained or lost weight. What if the actress wanted her to travel to New York to do the fittings? She couldn’t do that. Just the thought of being in the same city as Tom was enough to bring on a case of hives. After sending an email to congratulate her on the nomination and requesting more information on what kind of outfit Meri had in mind, Dani tried to settle down and figure out what to do. Meri stood by her during the divorce and she didn’t want to let her down. But, and it was a big but, how could she design something spectacular at long distance? And what about the trip with Simon? It would have to be put on hold.

Hours later, frazzled and nursing a doozy of a headache, she closed the studio door on chaos. A flitter of an idea for a slinky beautiful gown that had a definite touch of whore, had begun to take shape on her sketchpad, and, she had scattered enough discarded sketches around her desk to obliterate the honey-coloured sheen of the plank floor.  

There was a note on the fridge door from Jay when she walked into the kitchen. She smiled. He’d gone into town and would be there for the evening. She bet she knew whereabouts in town—a house beside a barn by the river. Going up to her bedroom, she took a shower and pulled on a pair of caramel-coloured slacks and a crossover sweater in soft cream wool that tied at the waist. The evening was chilly but the clouds had sailed out over the Atlantic. Gathering the few sketches she saved from the discards, she picked up a bottle of Sangria and set off through the trees to Simon’s house.

The warm sweater was a good idea as the sun had set some time ago and it was dim and cold under the heavy canopy of branches. There was a rustling somewhere on the rock-strewn hill behind her. Her head turned sharply. Nothing. Or at least, nothing she could see. Who would know if someone was hiding up there in the shadows? She should have brought a torch and a bazooka. Trying to shake off her over-active imagination, she followed the faint trail that wound its way down to the cleared space behind Simon’s house. All the while she had a horrible suspicion someone was following.

Just as she was about to step out from the trees and into the muted lilac-grey light of evening, a sound close by, like the harsh inhalation of a breath, made her skin crawl and her heart thumped as she turned to stare back. Still there was nothing but shadow and the twittering of agitated birds.

Was that the slide of footsteps through old leaves? Suddenly she began to run, pushing aside branches, jumping fallen deadwood. Simon, she had to reach Simon before…she didn’t know what or who was following, only that it wasn’t benign. Long moments later, she burst from beneath the trees and headed for the welcoming light on Simon’s veranda. Dashing up the steps she realized the sketches were gone, although the bottle of Sangria was still clutched under her arm.

“Damn!” She turned again. Nothing moved back there in the darkness, the only sound the rasp of her breath in her throat and the soughing of wind through the treetops. Nevertheless she wasn’t about to venture into the woods again to find her sketches. What a terrible coward she was.

“Something wrong, Dani?”

She whirled around to find Simon standing still as a monolith. Nerves twanging she lashed out. “Why do you do that? At least sing, or bang a pot or something, to let me know you’re there.” She bit her lip and held out the bottle as if it was a burnt offering.

Simon took it and laid an arm around her shoulders. “Did something frighten you, sweetheart? You were running like a tornado was on your tail.”

Dani shook her head but couldn’t help looking over her shoulder. The shadows were deep beneath the hemlocks and hoary old pines but no dark figure stood there watching her. Damn! She had to get a grip. For a moment she thought of resisting, going back just to show that she wasn’t afraid. Stupid, what did she have to prove? She allowed Simon to draw her into the warmth of the house.



About the Author:

Mary Raimes Curtis was an editor and freelance writer for many years before an early retirement when she had the time to indulge in writing for herself. Her first novel, Taming the Hawk, was published by MuseItUp Publishing in June 2012.

Mary, a one time Brit, now lives on the banks of a tidal river in Nova Scotia. This beautiful area is the genesis for her second novel, Luscious & Lethal—the first book in the Gilded River Chronicles.

Mary loves to hear from readers. Please visit her website at: www.maryraimescurtis.com

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