FOR HIS EYES ONLY was released yesterday in the UK, US and Australia. This is especially exciting because it’s my first hot release. The reviewers have been kind so far, but I’m holding my breath, wondering how my fans – who have been waiting nearly a year for a new book from me – are going to react!
Here’s a snippet to give you a flavour…
Maybe it was just the sunlight streaming in through the skylight above him, but today his eyes were molten slate, scorching her skin, melting the starch in her shirt, reducing her knees to fudge frosting.
It wasn’t just his eyes. Everything about him was hot; the faded, clay-smeared jeans hugging his thighs, midnight black hair curling into his neck, long, ropey muscles in his forearms. And those hands.
She had tried to convince herself that she’d imagined the electricity, the fizz, the crackle… There had been a shock factor when she’d seen him in Miles’ office, but he’d been in her head for days and not just because he was her only chance to get back to work.
She’d been dreaming about those hands. How they’d feel on her body, the drag of hard calluses against tender skin…
‘I know I’m the last person on earth you want to talk to, Mr Hadley,’ she said, quickly before he could tell her to get lost, ‘but if you can spare me ten minutes, I’ve got a proposition for you.’
The word hung in the air.
Darius looked down at the shadowy, hourglass shape of Natasha Gordon backlit by sunlight streaming in over the city roof tops.
It was just a word. Morgan couldn’t possibly be using her as a sweetener. But then again maybe it was her idea…
‘If you could spare me ten minutes?’ From above her he could see straight down the opening of her blouse, the way her luscious breasts were squished together as she raised her hand to shield her eyes from the light pouring in from the skylights. ‘Maybe we could sit down,’ she suggested, lifting her other hand a little to show him a glossy white cake box, dangling from a ribbon. ‘I’ve brought cake. It’s home-made. I’ll even make the tea.’
He picked up a damp cloth and wiped his hands, giving himself a moment to still his rampaging libido. He should send her packing but how often did a man receive a proposition from a sexy woman bearing cake? And now she was here he’d be able to capture the look that had eluded him; draw her out of his head.
‘I hope you or your mother can cook,’ he said and Patsy nodded, apparently satisfied that it would be safe to leave him alone with her and left them to it.
‘Would I come bearing anything less than perfection?’ she asked.
Not this woman, he thought. She’d pulled out all the stops… ‘How did you find me?’
‘Does it matter?’ she asked, the wide space between her brows crumpled in a tiny frown that didn’t fool him for a moment. Not many people knew where he worked. She’d had to work hard to locate him.
‘Humour me,’ he suggested, taking a step down the ladder and she caught at her breath, muscles tensed, barely stopping herself from taking a step back. She was nowhere near as cool as she looked. Which made two of them.
‘I did what anyone would do. Ran an internet search,’ she said, quickly, ‘and there you were. Darius Hadley, award winning sculptor, presently working on a prestigious commission to create a life-size bronze of one of the greatest racehorses of all time.’ Lots of details so he’d forget the question. He was familiar with the technique. His grandfather was a past master at diverting him whenever he’d asked awkward questions. ‘There was a photograph,’ she added.
‘Of me?’ He took another step down. She swallowed, but this time stood her ground.
‘Of the horse. It was in the Racing Times. Photographs of you are scarce. You don’t even have a website.’ She made it sound like an accusation.
‘I seem to manage.’
She turned away, giving them both a break as she looked around at the dozens of photographs taken from every angle of the horse, galloping, jumping, standing, that he’d pinned to the walls. She paused briefly at the anatomical drawings of the skeleton, the muscles, the blood vessels and then looked up at his interpretation of the animal gathered to leap a jump.
‘If I’d known who you were when the house came on the market,’ she said, at last, ‘I could have used the information to get some editorial interest. Race horse owners are among the richest men in the world and Hadley Chase is close to one of the country’s major race horse training centres.’
‘You managed an excessive number of column inches without any help from me,’ he said, ‘but that’s who, not where,’ he said, refusing to be sidetracked.
A rueful smile made it to a mouth that was a little too big for beauty, tugging it upwards. ‘The where was more difficult. And the address was only half the story. If it hadn’t been for Patsy I’d still be looking for you.’
‘So?’ he insisted.
‘I’m sorry, Mr Hadley. An estate agent never reveals her sources.’
‘A journalist?’ No, the piece in the newspaper had not been kind. Reading between the lines, anyone would be forgiven for assuming her “collapse” had been the result of a coke-fuelled drive for success. Something in her past… Journalists would not be flavour of the month. ‘An art dealer?’ he suggested. Who would be vulnerable to those big blue eyes and a loose top button? No… Who had moved recently? ‘Freddie Glover threw a house warming party a few months back,’ he said.
She neither confirmed nor denied it and satisfied, he let it rest.
‘If you’ve come to apologise…’ She seemed bright enough so he left her to fill in the blank.
‘I was sure Miles would have performed the ritual grovel but I could go through the motions if you insist,’ she offered.
A little movement of her hand, underlining the offer, sent a barely discernible shimmer through her body, a shimmer that found an answering echo deep in his groin. Yes…
She waited briefly, but he was too busy catching his own breath to answer.
‘I’m sorry about what happened, obviously, but that’s not the reason I’m here.’
‘Why are you here?’ he demanded. He didn’t enjoy being this out of control around a woman. ‘For heaven’s sake come in and close the door if you’re staying. I won’t eat you…’
She didn’t look entirely convinced, but she closed the door, took a breath and then walked towards him with the kind of mesmerisingly slow, hip-swaying walk that had gone out of style fifty years ago. Around the same time as her hour-glass figure.
No longer backlit from the street, the light pouring in from the skylights overhead lit her up like a spotlight and he could see that she’d made an attempt to disguise its lushness beneath a neat grey suit. Or maybe not. The skirt clung to her thighs and stopped a hand’s breadth short of serious, leaving a yard of leg on display, always supposing he’d got past the deep vee of her shirt. She really should try a size larger if she was serious.
As for her hair, she’d fastened it in a sleek twist that rested against the nape of her neck; it was a classically provocative style and his fingers, severely provoked, itched to pull the pins and send it tumbling around her face and shoulders.
She’d stopped a teasing arm’s width from the ladder, looking up at him. Near enough for the honeyed scent of warm skin, something lemony, spicy, chocolatey to reach him but, maybe sensing the danger, not quite close enough to touch. Clearly her instincts were better honed than his because every beat of his pulse urged him to reach for her, pull her close enough to feel what she was doing to him…
Forget the cake. Eating her, one luscious mouthful at a time, was the only thing on his mind.
PS If you want a paper copy of the KISS edition, you can buy direct from Harlequin – http://www.harlequin.com/storeitem.html?iid=50737&cid=3344