Breathless [NOOK Book]

Overview

Sophie Morton knows she's in big trouble when she botches a bust for a sexy detective. But getting arrested is the least of her worries. Detective Blake Barker has decided to go undercover to end a money-laundering scheme at the bank where she works. So much for never seeing him again! Now her bedtime fantasies have become daytime fantasies. And it's taking all her willpower not to give in....

Blake isn't sure whether he should curse or thank the day he met Sophie. The blond ...

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Breathless

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Overview

Sophie Morton knows she's in big trouble when she botches a bust for a sexy detective. But getting arrested is the least of her worries. Detective Blake Barker has decided to go undercover to end a money-laundering scheme at the bank where she works. So much for never seeing him again! Now her bedtime fantasies have become daytime fantasies. And it's taking all her willpower not to give in....

Blake isn't sure whether he should curse or thank the day he met Sophie. The blond bombshell is a huge distraction, but he can't stay away from her. She keeps telling him she doesn't sleep with co-workers, but rules were made to be broken. Her life's in danger, and Blake's determined to protect her. So what if that means staying close to her perfect body day and night? A job's a job, and he's not letting this gorgeous woman out of his sight.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426881190
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 10/18/2010
  • Series: Harlequin Blaze Series , #57
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 360,178
  • File size: 665 KB

Meet the Author



Nancy Warren is the USA TODAY bestselling author of more than twenty sexy, humorous novels and novellas for Harlequin and Kensington publishers. She got her big break in 2000 when she won the Harlequin Blaze Contest (unpublished category) and her first sale was a three-book contract— one for the Blaze line, one for the Temptation series and one for the Duets series. Nancy has won many awards for her writing, including the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Blaze of 2002 and the Laurel Wreath. In 2004 she was a double Rita Award finalist. Nancy holds an honors degree in English literature and lives in the Pacific Northwest where she spends a lot of time daydreaming about gorgeous men, and women who are a lot more adventurous than she. When not writing, she is usually out walking her border collie in the rain, or twisted into some bizarre yoga shape. For more, including contests, articles and other fun stuff, please visit nancywarren.net.
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First Chapter

Breathless


By Warren

Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Copyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373790619


Chapter One

Sophie Morton was lost.

That wasn't news. It happened all the time. Trouble was, she'd managed to lose herself in the worst part of Vancouver.

She'd been so certain she knew the way back to her bank's head office, but now she wondered if she'd taken a left when she should have turned right. Or was that a right that should have been a left?

If she weren't driving, she'd be tempted to bang her head against the steering wheel. She was cursed with no sense of direction. None whatsoever. She could never figure out why, with a high IQ and perfect vision, she was perpetually lost.

Maps didn't help. Strangers on the street who shouted directions like "go north at the next corner then south after the third light" didn't help in the least. Where the hell was north when you were totally and hopelessly lost?

Then there were those clowns with their "hang a roscoe, then a louie, then another roscoe, you can't miss it." Hah.

Breathe, she ordered herself as her heart rate picked up speed. She flicked a glance out the side windows hoping for a benign-looking pedestrian or a mail carrier or cop. But on Vancouver's grimy and crime-ridden East Side, even the weak October sunshine seemed to be staying away.

A drunk snoozed in a doorway, an old woman in a woolenhat dragged a rusty shopping cart full of her possessions, a pock-faced scarecrow of indeterminate gender rooted through a trash can. A group of teenage addicts were shooting up in the shadowed doorway of a pawn shop, the barred windows giving them the look of ragged prisoners in an overcrowded cell.

Sophie flipped the locks on her car and turned her attention back to the road, her hands tightening on the wheel. She heard a wheeze and knew it came from her own chest, where her heart felt as if it was expanding into her throat.

No. Not now. She willed herself to calm down. It was bad enough getting lost, but the helplessness and frustration that resulted sometimes triggered a panic attack. Sweat prickled her forehead, but she couldn't release her two-fisted death grip on the steering wheel to mop her brow.

Nothing to worry about. It's the middle of the afternoon. Ten minutes ago you were in a residential shopping plaza at a bank branch for an on-site management meeting.

Breathe. Perspiration damp and sticky between her breasts, she tried to calm herself by listening to the opera music playing on her car's CD player.

Focusing on the CD wasn't helping. She had to get out of this depressing place. The next intersection was bound to lead somewhere. She'd turn ... Oh, Lord, the intersection was almost on her, the light green. Right or left?

Her heart hammered painfully; there wasn't enough air in her lungs and yet she couldn't seem to suck in fresh air fast enough. Something was in the way, pressing.

She was in the right lane. That must be a sign. She'd turn right.

Gulping like a drowning victim, she forced her stiff fingers to turn the wheel to the right ... into a small, mean street that would be flattered to be termed an alley. Any fool could see it wasn't going to take her anywhere she wanted to go.

At least there was no other traffic. Dizzy and gasping, she pulled the car to the broken curb, shaking so badly she knew she'd have to breathe into the paper bag she always carried with her.

Breathe, damn it, breathe. She reached toward the glove compartment, knowing the crumpled paper bag was in there.

As she turned, the back view of a man, striding along the sidewalk a few feet ahead of her, caught her attention and held it. After the sad bundles of humanity she'd passed, it was a relief to see a well-built man. Maybe that's why she couldn't drag her eyes away.

This was good. Finding something to focus on was an excellent calming technique. Athletic and toned, his back view pushed all her female buttons. He wore a red baseball cap and long wavy-brown hair fell to his shoulders. A navy windbreaker couldn't hide the muscular shoulders, but it was the way his well-worn jeans molded to his hips and thighs that riveted her attention. He moved with speed and purpose and the way all his muscles worked together in harmony was poetry to the eye. Sophie's therapist would be delighted if she could see how well her client was using that focus technique.

She was so busy ogling the guy's rear that Sophie didn't spot the woman a few feet ahead of him until the man was almost on top of her. She was Asian, small-boned and in a terrible hurry, a clunky shopping bag bouncing against her thigh as she moved.

Sophie's eyes widened with horror as she watched the hunk grab the woman's arm and shove her up against the soot-smeared side of an old brick building. Beside them was an iron railing, the kind that meant a short flight of cement stairs led to a basement entrance.

The man was tall, and he loomed over the helpless woman, saying something, his face right in the woman's. Sophie rapidly revised her initial opinion from hunk. Macho, thug bully.

Through her car window, Sophie watched the woman struggle, saw her mouth opening; probably she was yelling for help.

Sophie's gaze darted up and down the alley, but it was deserted. There was no one there to help. No one but her.

It made her sick to watch a big muscle guy intimidate a woman. Whether he was trying to mug his struggling victim or worse, she had no idea, but she was horrified she'd been ogling the backside of a criminal.

Suddenly her lungs opened wide and she sucked huge gulps of air as anger overpowered her panic. 9-1-1. She'd call 9-1-1. Her fingers scrabbled frantically for the leather bag in the back seat that contained her cell phone.

Then she saw the gun in his hand. "Oh, my God, no!" she yelled. But of course, no one heard her from inside her car.

She grabbed for the door handle. No time for 9-1-1 - that woman could be dead before she made the call.

She didn't stop to think, but opened her door, rounded the hood of her car, and dashed the few steps that separated her from the attacker and his victim. She lunged, throwing her body at him in a running tackle that would make her brothers proud.

She came at him from an angle so her head butted his side, knocking him over. She wrapped her arms round him just as her big brothers had taught her when they were kids.

For a crazy moment she and the gunman were airborne. There was a tumble and churning of limbs as though they were pieces of clothing in a dryer. She heard his grunt of surprise, a low, vicious curse, then the crunch and smack of a body hitting cement.

She cried out with pain as her hand scraped the rough, rocklike surface at the bottom of the stairs. Then she landed and the breath was knocked out of her with an oof.

A moment passed in utter stillness. Her face was planted against a warm, muscular chest that heaved once in a shuddering gasp, the only sign of life.

She lay sprawled across the gunman like a spent lover. When she inhaled, she smelled soap, sweat and man.

For a dazed second she felt an urge to snuggle into his solid warmth and rest for a moment, then reality reasserted itself. She was lying on top of a dangerous criminal.

Her eyes popped open. He wasn't merely dangerous. He was deadly. The gun. She hadn't heard it go off, so the woman must be safe, thank God. But danger still prickled at the back of her neck. She had to get that gun.

They'd landed on a cement pad the size of an apartment balcony in front of a dented metal door. She glanced over her shoulder and up the half-dozen cement stairs. The Asian woman stared down at them, her mouth open.

Sophie sighed, thankful the victim was unharmed. Together, they'd call 9-1-1 and one more abuser of women would be off the street. She'd have a few bruises and a badly scraped hand, but it would be worth it.

"Help me," Sophie called to the woman, her voice shaky but holding. "Help me get his gun."



Excerpted from Breathless by Warren Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Charming and tons of chemistry

    Loved this book. Get'S EVERYTHING right.

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