He'll protect her--and bed her!
Tristan Bennet is tall, sexy and enigmatic--and jeweler Erin can't tell whether he's a gem or a rough diamond.
But Tristan has a week to spare--so he'll act, as protector to Erin while she goes to Australia's gem mines to buy precious stones.
Once she and Tristan are on the road, the heat they generate drives them both to distraction. Erin knows they're headed for trouble--unless they can keep the lid on the attraction growing between them....
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February 11, 2008
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Excerpt from Bedded for Diamonds by Kelly Hunter
Erin Sinclair was used to traffic. Rush hour traffic, gridlocked traffic, rainy-day traffic...and, right now, airport traffic. Sydney was a vibrant, picturesque city with an iconic bridge and a bluer than blue harbour, but Sydney roads at eight a.m. on a Monday morning were congested.
Taxi drivers knew these things.
Her passengers had been running late, but she'd delivered them to the international departure terminal in record time thanks to a run of green lights. They'd tipped big, too rushed to wait for change. Probably not the best start to their day, thought Erin, but it was certainly an excellent way to start hers. Now all she needed was a fare back into the city.
Her pick-up area, the one for luxury taxis, was directly outside the arrival terminal doors. There were no other taxis and no one was waiting for a ride but that didn't stop her from sliding the car to a halt, popping the boot, and getting out. She wouldn't have to wait long.
As requested, she was wearing black. Black hiking boots, semi-regulation black trousers, black T-shirt. A perky black chauffeur's cap sat ignored on the front passenger seat.
The man who came striding through the arrival terminal doors was not wearing black but, boy, he would have looked good in it. He'd opted instead for scuffed steel-capped boots, green cargo trousers and a grey T-shirt, but that was where Mr Average ended and the fantasy began because the body beneath the everyday clothing was superb.
He was broad-shouldered, slim-hipped, everything about him lean and powerfully muscled. His hair was black and carelessly cut and his face was as near to perfection as the gods would allow. He looked tired. Tired in a way that had nothing to do with a long haul flight and everything to do with a weariness that went soul deep. He was all shut down, which was probably just as well. Because heaven help womankind if he smiled.
He glanced around and started towards her so she headed for the back of the car and pushed the boot open with her fingertips. He was beside her now, and up close she could see that his eyes were the colour of toffee and more than a match for the rest of him. She shot him a smile, reached for his bulky canvas carryall.
'I'll do it.' His voice was deep and quiet. 'Is this a gender thing?' 'I prefer to think of it as a weight thing.' The look he sent her might have been swift, but what it lacked in longevity it made up for in intensity. She felt the force of it, of him, clear through to her soul. 'You're not very big, are you?' he said finally.
Erin blew out the breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding and pushed a wayward strand of short brown hair from her eyes. So she was five feet four and a little on the slender side. This wasn't news. Maybe he hadn't seen clear through to her soul after all. If he had he'd have known better than to comment on her size.
By the time he'd shut the boot on his luggage she had the passenger door open and was waiting for him to get in. He looked at her, looked at the door, and the faintest of smiles crossed his lips. Obviously he wasn't used to having car doors opened for him either. 'Are you sure you're after a luxury taxi service?' she asked him dryly. 'Because the regular taxis are just over there.'
He glanced at the long line of regular taxis, glanced back at her. 'Will a luxury ride get me into the city any faster?'
'Only in your imagination.'
His smile widened fractionally. 'On the upside, I have three different newspapers you can read on the way and I can order in coffee.'
'Good coffee?' he asked. 'Exceptional coffee.' 'Espresso, black, two sugars,' he said, and got in. Men were so easy.
She shut his door and headed for the driver's seat. 'Where to?'
'Albany Street, Double Bay.'
Nice. She picked up her mobile, called in his coffee order, pulled out into the traffic, and set about making his journey a luxury one. 'Newspaper?' she asked. 'I have the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, or the Financial Review.'
'No.' 'Music?' There was something for everyone. 'No.'
O-kay. He didn't look as if he wanted conversation either but she gave it a whirl, just in case. 'So where'd you fly in from?'
'London.' 'Been away long?' His accent told her he was Australian.
'Six years.' 'Six years in London? Without a break? No wonder you look tired.'
'Maybe I will have that paper,' he said, his gaze meeting hers in the rear vision mirror.
'That would be a "no" to conversation, then?' 'Right.'
She handed him the Sydney Morning Herald in silence. Maybe he was an elite athlete. A soccer player returning home at the end of the European season after his team's final crushing defeat. Maybe he'd missed the winning penalty goal and was barely able to talk through the weight of his despair. Yeah, that would work. 'You're not a soccer player, are you?'
'No.' 'A poet?' That would work too. Because he could have taught Byron himself a thing or two about looking sexy, unreachable, and sorely in need of comfort all at the same time.