HEA is thrilled to unveil the cover of Hot Shade and an excerpt from the debut New Adult romantic suspense by Tamara Lush. Hot Shade arrives Sept. 30.
About the book (courtesy of Boroughs Publishing):
Romance is the last thing on reporter Skylar Shaw’s mind when she covers a plane crash on a Florida beach. Her best source could be a mysterious Italian man, but he’s strictly off the record—unless it involves indulging their electrifying attraction to each other. Little does Skylar know, but that crash is only the beginning.
Luca Rossi is hiding a big secret: He’s a journalist, too, and his anonymous exposé on the Mafia destroyed his world. Now, after two lonely years on the run, he will do anything to possess this vulnerable American beauty. But Skylar is as relentless as the Florida glare, and the situation ignites when she reports on a gruesome murder in a swamp. Soon erotic nights will bleed into dangerous days, and nowhere will be safe from the heat.
EXCERPT (from chapter one)
She grinned and rummaged through her straw tote bag then handed him a business card. Plucking it from her fingers, Luca studied every inch of her face. Even the freckles on her nose were adorably sexy.
He glanced down and read her card aloud. “‘Skylar Shaw. The Palmira Post.’”
She took a pen and notebook out of her bag. The pen’s end was frayed with bite marks. Luca arched an eyebrow. He longed to flirt but knew he shouldn’t, for all sorts of reasons.
“How long have you been a reporter, Skylar Shaw?”
“Three months, not counting my internship. I got this job at the newspaper right after graduating from journalism school.”
He looked at her, then at her card and back at her. She tapped the end of the pen on her bottom lip and opened her mouth to chew on it. Her lips were plump, and Luca entertained a fantasy of rubbing his thumb over them. How he’d love to play with this girl. How bad an idea was it to ask her inside for a glass of wine?
No, he couldn’t do that. He could see she was in the throes of reporting a story, and although her grin was flirtatious, her eyes were intent. Serious. And he shouldn’t be seducing reporters. Not in his situation.
He managed a tight smile and tried to focus on her forehead, but her blue eyes were like magnets and he held her gaze for a few unblinking moments. “Congratulations on your graduation and on getting a job in a dying industry at the end of a global recession. Now, if you don’t mind—”
She laughed and pointed at the homes. “Well, congratulations to you, on settling in a gated retirement community at such a young age. We all can’t be so lucky.”
He tilted his head, puzzled. Women usually were flirtatious with him. Not snarky.
She smiled sweetly. “Sorry. Couldn’t resist. If you tell me anything off the record about the plane crash, I won’t put your name in the paper. I can use you as an anonymous source. Do you know anything about the person who helped the injured man? Did you see anything?”
She was persistent, and he admired that. Both in a journalist, and in a woman. And yet, no way would Luca reveal that he’d aided the plane crash victim. He wanted publicity, and reporters, to stay as far away as possible. Especially this one.
He leaned forward and lowered his voice, acutely aware of his Italian accent. It was so different, seemed so heavy, from her American cadence and it made him feel a bit self-conscious. “Are you aware you are on private property? Reporters shouldn’t break the law. Our community is called The Sanctuary, and it’s gated for a reason, no? We like our privacy here.”
The girl’s mouth froze in an open-mouthed smile and a pink flush bloomed on her cheeks. She was even more beautiful than before.
“Oh.” She pointed at the gate with her pen, then smiled sheepishly. “I just came in over there. The gate was easy to open and I thought I’d find more people to talk to, more sources. I didn’t mean to tear my dress in the process.”
Luca fought back a grin. Her tenaciousness, her eagerness to get the story, was endearing. Waltzing into a private enclave was exactly what he would have done when he was a reporter.
“Yes. I know. I saw your elegant entrance as you broke into the property. Now I’ll open the door out for you. I wouldn’t want to rip more of your dress off.”
Ripping that gauzy dress off was exactly what he’d love to do. And couldn’t.
Luca sauntered a few paces toward the gate. Turning the knob, he held the door open with an expectant look. The young woman stared at him intently. She was short, and he couldn’t help but imagine how he would have to bend slightly to kiss her.
“You have my cell number on my card…if you want to talk.”
Luca grinned. Her eyes flitted to his bicep, to his tattoo of an Italian saying. Chi più sa, meno crede.
The more one knows, the less one believes. It was his motto, his truth.
But in that moment, all he knew, all he believed, was that he wanted to spend the rest of the day, and all of the night, with the woman standing in front of him. Even though she was everything he should run from. His gaze drifted to the light sheen of perspiration that nestled in between the soft cleavage of her breasts. She was about a foot away, and her blue eyes, pale skin and pink lips were even more gorgeous up close. Less resistible. More deadly.
Because talking was the last thing he wanted.
Find out more about Tamara and her book at www.tamaralush.com.