The first in the Undercover series.
She wants to forget her past...
Sara lives alone in the isolated wilderness of Canada...until one stormy night when an injured fugitive with amnesia forces his way into her home and straight into her wounded heart. He's dangerous, tastes of dark, delicious sex and unleashes lusty cravings she never knew she had. Although there can be no future with a sexy man accused of murder, she's willing to do whatever it takes to keep him in her life and in her bed.
He needs to remember his past...
She smells of sweet peppermint and makes him burn with hot desire. He wants her, needs to be deep inside her and yearns to forget the terror-filled flashbacks that haunt him. Crooked cops and a romantic ghost town hold the secrets to his mysterious past, and if he's ever going to give her a future they both crave, he'll have to prove his innocence, even if it means facing his dangerous past head on.
Note: This book was previously released at a different publisher. It has been extended and extensively revised to express the steamier side of suspense.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Peppermint Creek Inn by Jan Springer
Wincing at the blazing pain searing through his lower back and the massive headache battering his brain, he slumped heavily into the nearest chair.
He shouldn't have scared her like that with the gun. Simply knocking on the door and walking in as nonchalant as possible would have been sufficient.
Earlier when he'd first spotted the house and the storm had first broken--he'd sought refuge on the swinging porch chaise. He'd fallen asleep, or more appropriately passed out. He'd slept hard, real hard, totally oblivious to the downpour hammering on the porch roof.
Eventually a noise had sunk through the soothing layers of sleep and he'd awoken and seen the two pinpricks of headlights bursting through the storm. Fearing the cops had found him, he'd quickly scrambled for cover to the side of the house. Then he'd seen the pretty woman sitting behind the wheel of the truck.
It seemed like an eternity that he watched her, mesmerized by her natural beauty. Instincts told him he'd seen her before. Somewhere.
But where? When?
He couldn't remember anything before last night.
Why he wasn't panicking about not remembering anything was anyone's guess, but for some reason, he felt as if he might be better off not knowing his past.
What he did remember was the woman stepping out of her truck and the fantastic way her long auburn hair had billowed around her heart-shaped face in the rising wind. In the blinking lightning she'd looked like a goddess coming out of the fiery heavens to fetch him and he'd almost stepped out to greet her, but a silent warning to be very careful had stopped him cold. Taking no chances, he'd pulled out the gun and followed her inside.
When he'd first seen her slamming down the phone, her cute face twisted in fury, he'd wanted to take her into his arms, to comfort her, to kiss away her anger but then she'd seen him standing there in the doorway and panic had raged in her eyes. He'd known she was about to scream, to run away from him and he'd grabbed her, instantly drowning in her wonderful, sweet, peppermint-scented body. He'd found himself transfixed by her sparkling eyes, yet it was the seductive curve of her rosebud lips that sent a scream of primal sexual hunger searing through his cock, making him want to dig his fingers into her tumbling mass of silky hair and kiss her 'til she begged for more. He'd almost done it, but thankfully self-control had prevailed, and he'd stupidly let her get away and almost allowed her to be killed by that damned tree.
When he'd seen the lightning strike, time had quite literally frozen stiff. Then the tree began toppling toward them and he'd been paralyzed by a hideous fear. Not for his safety, but for hers.
Thankfully, something had snapped inside him, and he'd felt himself inch toward her.
He'd wanted to scream. Yell at her to move. But the words had remained trapped in his paralyzed throat.
She'd just stood there, stiff against the railing. Mesmerized by the spiraling timber. As if she'd been waiting for death to strike.
Her earlier words hovered in the blackness of his mind like a heavy dark cloud. Put me out of my misery, she'd said. Had she in fact been waiting for the clutches of death to take her?
He'd grabbed her violently. Too damn violently. But he'd been so scared. He'd pulled her away from the ugly clutches of death. Hurling her toward safety. And best of all--back into his life.
"Thanks," her soft feminine voice made him jump clear out of his chair. The unexpected movement sent excruciating pain sizzling throughout his back. He cursed under his breath. He hadn't heard her come back. Yet somehow he knew she would return.
She stood in the open doorway. Wild wind blew her auburn trestles every which way. Her short ski jacket provided hardly any protection against the bleak elements.
He cocked a teasing eyebrow.
"Thanks for what?"
"For saving my life!" she said suddenly angry, as if surprised he'd already forgotten what he'd done for her.
"Was it?" she snapped.
Her voice bristled like a porcupine but the memory of her soft body curving warmly beneath him on the kitchen floor was still fresh in his mind. The intense fire shooting throughout him as he'd covered her, made his balls and cock stiffen painfully against the god-awful prison of his tightening jeans.
Through the lightning flashes, he watched her edge cautiously inside the door. She peered around, as if searching for something.
"The gun is over there," he nodded to the weapon swaddled by the dark shadows, where he'd dropped it when he'd run after her.
"Don't you need it any more?"
"No. Take it. It's all yours."
She darted a curious glance his way as if not really believing her immense luck. She reminded him of a child sneaking toward a cookie jar and he was the bad guy playing a horrible trick on her, changing his mind at any second and snatching the treasure from her hands. But she wasn't a child. Far from it. She was a woman. And in all the right places.
He tried to focus on her almost too-slim woolen-clad legs as she eased gracefully toward the gun. When she bent over to pick up the ugly weapon with her beautiful slender fingers, he was treated to a glimpse of her full, shapely hips and wonderfully rounded ass. God he wouldn't mind driving his cock deep into her wet and warm pussy from behind. Plunging and thrusting into her, hearing her gasps of pleasure as he fucked her all night long.
Leaning wearily against the chair he was quite happy to see the satisfied smirk flash over her beautiful lips as if she was the cat and he, the helpless mouse. Then his stomach sunk a little as she raised the gun in her trembling hands and pointed it at his face.
The gun was empty. But she didn't know. The thought that she'd pull the trigger on him left him feeling quite disappointed. What else had he expected? That she'd embrace him for saving her life, even after everything he'd put her through?
He felt lightheaded, wiped out. All his remaining strength having been used saving her life. His eyelids felt as if heavy weights were pulling them down and he closed his eyes.
His head lolled back onto his shoulders.
He'd run out of time. And he didn't care anymore.
She was talking. He tried to concentrate on her words. Truly he did. But she sounded so far away.
Her sweet peppermint scent wrapped erotically around his fevered body, teasing him, coaxing him to move. To reach out and kiss her, but he was totally wiped.
Cool feminine fingers traveled across his hot forehead.
"C'mon, wake up. Open your eyes, damn you. Don't go doing something stupid like dying on me."
He lifted his heavy eyelids and her beautiful face hovered like a ghost amidst the black fog. A burrowed frown zipped onto her concerned face.
She was actually worried about him? A warm fuzzy kind of feeling he really liked floated around him.
"Where's your car? Is it nearby?"
"No car. Walked in," he managed to groan.
She stood over him and studied him as if he were seriously deranged. He was beginning to think maybe he just might be. Why else would he have cops chasing him, an empty gun in his possession and a beautiful woman staring at him as if he was nuts?
"Okay. First thing we have to do is get you to bed."
"Only if you join me and keep me nice and warm."