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4.1 10
by Diana Palmer

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Stanton Rourke lives life on the edge. The steely mercenary is a menace in every way…especially to Clarisse Carrington's heart. She and Rourke were playmates as children, but she's not the innocent girl he once knew. When tragedy robbed Clarisse of her entire family, her life was changed forever.



Stanton Rourke lives life on the edge. The steely mercenary is a menace in every way…especially to Clarisse Carrington's heart. She and Rourke were playmates as children, but she's not the innocent girl he once knew. When tragedy robbed Clarisse of her entire family, her life was changed forever. Besides, she's a grown woman now, and there are secrets that hold her back from succumbing to her pursuer.

As she struggles to keep her distance, sparks as hot as a Texas summer fly between them. But danger is following Clarisse, leaving her no choice but to rely on Rourke, even as the old wounds lying dormant between them flare up again…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mercenary and secret agent Stanton Rourke risks his life on a daily basis, and he’ll go out on a limb even for people he despises, such as journalist Clarisse “Tat” Carrington. He extracts her from a refugee camp deep in Africa, and then supports her when she gets into other scrapes in South America. Tat doesn’t understand why Stanton is so rude and harsh whenever they interact, but that doesn’t stop her from loving him, even from a distance. When Stanton learns that his beliefs about Tat are based on nothing but lies, they quickly come together. Palmer (Protector) proves that love and passion can be found even in the most dangerous situations. Even when she employs the oft-derided amnesia trope, somehow it doesn’t feel worn or silly; Tat simply moves on with her life without Stanton, landing in Jacobsville, Tex. (and interacting with many couples from Palmer’s long-running Long, Tall Texans series). He follows as quickly as he can, and as enemies from around the world track them to this tiny corner of Texas, Stanton ably proves to Tat that she can count on his love and protection. Readers don’t need to be familiar with Palmer’s work to enjoy this contemporary romantic thriller. (July)
From the Publisher
"Palmer...is the queen of desperado quests for justice and true love." -Publishers Weekly

"The popular Palmer has penned another winning novel, a perfect blend of romance and suspense."—Booklist on Lawman

"Diana Palmer is a mesmerizing storyteller who captures the essence of what a romance should be."—Affaire de Coeur

"Diana Palmer is one of those authors whose books are always enjoyable. She throws in romance, suspense and a good storyline." -The Romance Reader on Before Sunrise

"...this is a fascinating story...It's nice to have a hero wise enough to know when he can't do things alone and willing to accept help when he needs it. There is pleasure to be found in the nice sense of family this tale imparts."
-RT Book Reviews on Wyoming Bold

"...lots of passion, thrills, and plenty of suspense... Protector is a top notch read!"
-Romance Reviews Today on Protector

"The dialogue is charming, the characters likable and the sex sizzling..." —Publishers Weekly on Once in Paris

"A delightful romance with interesting new characters and many familiar faces. It's nice to have a hero who is not picture perfect in looks or instincts, and a heroine who accepts her privileged life yet is willing to work for the future she wants." —RT Book Reviews on Wyoming Tough

"Palmer, a romance veteran, knows how to concoct a savory chicken-fried love plot..."-Publishers Weekly on Heartless

"Palmer's latest entry in her Long, Tall Texans series is an intriguing story that blurs the line between good and evil...the romance between the main characters builds nicely with some gentle humor, and the moral dilemmas they face are believable and engrossing." -RT Book Reviews on Protector

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

It took forever to get anywhere, Stanton Rourke fumed. He was sitting at the airport on a parked plane while officials decided if it was safe to let the passengers disembark. Of course, he reasoned, Africa was a place of tensions. That never changed. And he was landing in Ngawa, a small war-torn nation named in Swahili for a species of civet cat found there. He was in the same spot where a small commercial plane had been brought down with a rocket launcher only the week before.

He wasn't afraid of war. Over the years, he'd become far too accustomed to it. He was usually called in when a counterespionage expert was wanted, but he had other skills, as well. Right now he wished he had more skill in diplomacy. He was going into Ngawa to get Tat out, and she wasn't going to want to let him persuade her.

Tat. He almost groaned as he pictured her the last time he'd seen her in Barrera, Amazonas, just after General Emilio Machado had retaken his country from a powerful tyrant, with a little help from Rourke and a company of American mercs. Clarisse Carrington was her legal name. But to Rourke, who'd known her since she was a child, she'd always been just Tat.

A minion of the country's usurper, Arturo Sapara, had tortured her with a knife. He could still see her, her blouse covered with blood, suffering from the effects of a bullet wound and knife cuts on her breast from one of Sapara's apes, who was trying to force her to tell what she knew about a threatening invasion of his stolen country.

She was fragile in appearance, blonde and blue-eyed with a delicately perfect face and a body that drew men's eyes. But the fragility had been eclipsed when she was threatened. She'd been angry, uncooperative, strong. She hadn't given up one bit of information. With grit that had amazed Rourke, who still remembered her as the Washington socialite she'd been, she'd not only charmed a jailer into releasing her and two captured college professors, she'd managed to get them to safety, as well. Then she'd given Machado valuable intel that had helped him and his ragtag army overthrow Sapara and regain his country.

She did have credentials as a photojournalist, but Rourke had always considered that she was just playing at the job. To be fair, she had covered the invasion in Iraq, but in human-interest pieces, not what he thought of as true reporting. After Barrera, that had changed.

She'd signed on with one of the wire services as a foreign correspondent and gone into the combat zones. Her latest foray was this gig in Ngawa, where she'd stationed herself in a refugee camp which had just been overrun.

Rourke had come racing, after an agonizing few weeks in Wyoming and Texas helping close down a corrupt politician and expose a drug network. He hadn't wanted to take the time. He was terrified that Tat was really going to get herself killed. He was almost sweating with worry, because he knew something that Tat didn't; something potentially fatal to her and any foreigners in the region.

He readjusted the ponytail that held his long blond hair. His one pale brown eye was troubled, beside the one wearing the eye patch. He'd lost the eye years ago, in a combat situation that had also given him devastating scars. It hadn't kept him out of the game by a long shot, but he'd turned his attention to less physical pursuits, working chiefly for K. C. Kantor's paramilitary ops group as an intel expert, when he wasn't working for a covert government agency in another country.

K.C. didn't like him going into danger. He didn't care what the older man liked. He suspected, had long suspected, that K.C. was his real father. He knew K.C. had the same suspicion. Neither of them had the guts to have a DNA profile done and learn the truth, although Rourke had asked a doctor to do a DNA profile of his assumed father.

The results had been disturbing. Rourke's apparent father had been K.C.'s best friend. Rourke's mother had been a little saint. She'd never cheated on her husband, to Rourke's knowledge, but when she was dying she'd whispered to the doctor, Rourke's friend, that she'd felt sorry for K.C. when the woman he loved had taken the veil as a nun, and things had happened. She died before she could elaborate. Rourke had never had the nerve to actually ask K.C. about it. He wasn't afraid of the other man. But they had a mutual respect that he didn't want to lose.

Tat was another matter. He closed his eye and groaned inwardly. He remembered her at seventeen, the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen in his entire life. Soft, light blond hair in a feathery cut around her exquisite face, her china-blue eyes wide and soft and loving. She'd been wearing a green dress, something slinky but demure, because her parents were very religious. Rourke had been teasing her and she'd laughed up at him. Something had snapped inside him. He'd gathered her up like priceless treasure and started kissing her. Actually, he'd done a lot more than just kiss her. Only the sudden arrival of her mother had broken it up, and her mother had been furious.

She'd hidden it, smoothing things over. But then Tat's mother had taken Rourke to one side, and with quiet fury, she'd told him something that destroyed his life. From that night, he'd been so cold to Tat that she thought he hated her. He had to let her think it. She was the one woman on earth that he could never have.

He opened his eye, grinding down on the memories before they started eating him alive again. He wished that he'd never touched her, that he didn't have the shy innocence of her mouth, her worshipping eyes, to haunt his dreams. He'd driven her into the arms of other men with his hatred, and that only made the pain worse. He taunted her with it, when he knew it was his own fault. He'd had no choice. He couldn't even tell her the truth. She'd worshipped her mother. She had passed away from a virus she'd caught while nursing others. Now Tat was alone, the tragic deaths of her father and young sister still haunting her months after they'd drowned in a piranha-infested river on a tour of local villages.

Rourke had been at the funeral. He couldn't help the way he felt. If Tat was in trouble, or hurt, he was always there. He'd known her since she was eight and her parents lived next door to K.C., who was by that time Rourke's legal guardian, in Africa. Since Tat was ten years old and Rourke was fifteen, and he'd carried her out of the jungle in his arms to a doctor, after letting her get bitten by a viper, she'd been his. He couldn't have her, but he couldn't stop taking care of her. He knew his attitude puzzled her, because he was usually her worst enemy. But let her be hurt, or threatened, and he was right there. Always. Like now.

He'd tried to phone her, but he couldn't get her to answer her cell. She probably knew his number by heart. She wouldn't even pick up when he called.

Now she was here, somewhere close, and he couldn't even get information from his best sources about her condition. He remembered again the way she'd been in Barrera, bleeding, white in the face, worn to the bone, but still defiant.

The steward walked down the aisle and announced that the rebels who held the airfield were allowing the passengers to leave after a brief negotiation. He even smiled. Rourke leaned over and unobtrusively patted the hide gun in his boot. He could negotiate for himself, if he had to, he mused.

He called his contact, a man with a vehicle, to drive him to the refugee camp. This man was one of his few friends in the country. It was Bob Satele, sitting beside him, who had given him the only news of Tat he'd had in weeks.

"It is most terrible, to see what they do here," the man remarked as he drove along the winding dirt road. "Miss Car-rington has a colleague who gets her dispatches out. She has been most sympathetic to the plight of the people, especially the children."

"Ya," Rourke said absently. "She loves kids. I'm surprised that Mosane hasn't had her killed." He was referring to the leader of the rebel coalition, a man with a bloodthirsty reputation.

"He did try," his contact replied, making Rourke clench his teeth. "But she has friends, even among the enemy troops. In fact, it was one of Mosane's own officers who got her to safety. They were going to execute her…"

He paused at Rourke's harsh gasp.

Rourke bit down hard on his feelings. "NATO is threatening to send in troops," he said, trying to disguise the anguish he felt. At the same time he didn't dare divulge what he knew; it was classified.

"The world should not permit such as this to happen, although like you, I dislike the idea of foreign nations interfering in local politics."

"This is an exception to the rule," Rourke said. "I'd hang Mosane with my own hands if I could get to him."

The other man chuckled. "It is our Africa, yes?"

"Yes. Our Africa. And we should be the ones to straighten it out. Years of foreign imperialism have taken a toll here. We're all twitchy about letting outsiders in."

"Your family, like mine, has been here for generations," the other man replied.

"We go back, don't we, mate?" he said, managing a smile. "How much farther?"

"Just down the road. You can see the tents from here." They passed a truck with a red cross on the side, obviously the victim of a bomb. "And that is what happens to the medical supplies they send us," he added grimly. "Nothing meant for the people reaches them, yet outsiders think they do so much good by sending commodities in."

"Too true. If they're not destroyed by the enemy, they're confiscated and sold on the black market." He drew in a breath. "Dear God, I am so sick of war."

"You should find a wife and have children." His friend chuckled. "It will change your view of the world."

"No chance of that," Rourke said pleasantly. "I like variety."

He didn't, actually. But he was denied the one woman he did want.

The refugee camp was bustling. There were two people in white lab coats attending the injured lying on cots inside the few big tents. Rourke's restless eye went from one group to another, looking for a blond head of hair. He was almost frantic with worry, and he couldn't let it show.

"She is over there," Bob said suddenly, pointing.

And there she was. Sitting on an overturned crate with a tiny little African boy cradled in her arms. She was giving him a bottle and laughing. She looked worn. Her hair needed washing. Her khaki slacks and blouse were rumpled. She looked as if she'd never worn couture gowns to the opera or presided over arts ceremonies. To Rourke, even in rags, she would be beautiful. But he didn't dare let his mind go in that direction. He steeled himself to face her.

Clarisse felt eyes on her. She looked up and saw Rourke, and her face betrayed her utter shock.

He walked straight to her, his jaw set, his one brown eye flashing.

"Look here," she began before he could say a word, "it's my life."

He went down on one knee, his scrutiny close and unnerving. "Are you all right?" he asked gruffly.

She bit her lower lip and tears threatened. If she was hurt, in danger, mourning, frightened, he was always there. He'd come across continents to her, across the world, around the world. But he didn't want her. He'd never wanted her.

"Yes," she said huskily. "I'm all right."

"Bob said you were captured, that they were going to kill you," he ground out, his scrutiny close and hot.

She lowered her eyes to the child she was feeding. "A necklace saved my life."

"That cross…" he began, recalling that her mother had given it to her and she never took it off1—except once, to put it around Rourke's neck in Barrera, just before he went into the capital city with Machado and the others, for luck.

"No." She flicked open the top button of her blouse. She was wearing a seashell necklace with leather thongs.

He frowned.

"This little one—" she indicated the child in her arms "—has a sister. She was dying, of what I thought was appendicitis. I commandeered a car and driver and took her to the clinic, a few miles down the road. It was appendicitis. They saved her." She took the bottle away from the child's lips, tossed a diaper over one shoulder, lifted the child and patted him gently on the back to make him burp. "Her mother gave me this necklace, the little girl's necklace, in return." She smiled. "So the captain whose unit captured me saw it and recognized it and smuggled me out of the village." She cradled the child in her arms and made a face at him. He chuckled. "This is his son. His little girl and his wife are over there, helping hand out blankets." She nodded toward the other side of the camp.

He whistled softly.

"Life is full of surprises," she concluded.


She looked at him with eyes that were quickly averted. "You came all this way because you thought I'd been kidnapped?"

He shook his head curtly. "I didn't know that until I got here."

"Then why did you come?" she asked.

He drew in a long breath. He watched her cradle the child and he smiled, without sarcasm for once. "You look very comfortable with a child in your arms, Tat."

"He's a sweet boy," she said.

His mother came back and held out her arms, smiling shyly at Rourke before she went back to the others.

"Why did you come?" she asked him again.

He stood up, jamming his hands into his khaki slacks. "To get you out of here," he said simply. His face was taut.

"I can't leave," she said. "There isn't another journalist in this part of the country. Someone has to make sure the world knows what's going on here."

"You've done that," he said shortly. He searched her eyes. "You have to get out. Today."

Meet the Author

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.

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Untamed 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Diana Palmer has always been a favorite author of mine. She writes emotionally charged stories that can break the heart, peak interest and leave a reader guessing. Untamed is a story of two emotionally battered people trying to overcome obstacles that could lead to deadly results. Rourke and Clarisse had to dig through many land mine's and painful secrets. Through it all Untamed proved action packed, suspenseful and heartbreaking. Great job. Received an ARC for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Where do I start...I was a huge Diana Palmer fan and really looked forward to Stanton's story. I am extremely disappointed. I was one of the few holdouts that looked forward to Ms. Palmer's newest literary venture. However, any faithful follower will quickly notice that the plot and dialogue seems to be rehashed from many of her previous novels. The sex scenes seemed as if Ms. Palmer was attempting to deviate from some of her previous novels, with the main character attempting different things from Ms. Palmer's other novels, but, from someone who has been married for 24 years, the dialogue continues to be unrealistic and the "payoff" quite absurd. I WANTED to remain a faithful reader, but after this last novel, I am afraid that I can no longer call myself one.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Love Diana Palmer's books and was delighted to end up in Jacobsville. Her stories let you feel like you are part of the story. Not sure I would have held up to all the problems that plagued Tat and Rourke . I loved getting reacquainted with all the people from Jacobs villa and catching up with their lives. Well done,Diana ! !!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little confusing t times but i liked rourk in previous novels so couldnt wait to read his story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DebsIN More than 1 year ago
I am such a fan of Diana Palmer. Untamed was a bit different than some of the others in the series as far as the missions and such, but I enjoyed Rourke finally getting his story. His was a story of a tortured soul that has been in love with Tat for years and it seems he doesn't know how to move forward in his life without his missions coming first. The learning process was heartbreaking and I was so glad to see a HEA for Rourke and Tat. I also enjoyed seeing some old friends in their story. As with all of Diana Palmer stories, this one for me, was a winner. Highly Recommend this one.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Untamed - Long Tall Texans Author: Diana Palmer Published: 6-30-2015 Publisher: Thorndike Press / Harlequin Pages: 304 Genre: Women's Fiction Sub Genre: Westerns, Romance ISBN: 9780373778805 ASIN: B00OHVLVAG Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . Come back and visit with some old friends. Stanton Roarke, mercenary and childhood friend of Clarisse Carrington, a woman he loves, but believes is forbidden to him. Stanton is quick tempered, honorable man who tries to keep his distance from Clarisse, but continually steps in to protect her from harm, sometimes from a distance. Misunderstandings have kept them from each other, but the truth is slowly surfacing. Will it be too late as Clarisse is placed in mortal danger once again. Will Roarke be able to save her or will he forfeit his life as well. Diana Palmer has a tried and true template for her main characters. The hero is usually an alpha male with issues in his past that jeeps him from trusting women or allowing them close to him. To her credit Ms. Palmer never has portrayed her heroes as physically abusive in any way. The woman is usually a bit timid and ma even appear to be wimps. They usually begin to show a bit of the steel in their make up after being pushed too far by the hero. After saying all this you would be forgiven for believing that I do not care for Diana Palmer's work, but you could not be more wrong. I have been reading Ms. Palmer's Long Tall Texan books her very first one for Silhouette Romance in 1988. I often reread them again and again. I have collected each and every one. I still look forward to the release of her new books and devour them as soon as they are released. I was so pleased to finally read Roarke's story and I was not disappointed. Diana Palmer always deliver a story that makes the reader sigh with contentment as they read how the love shared takes a self-controlled male and nearly turns him into a marshmallow where the ones that hold their heart is concerned. I think you may want to check out her next book Defender out as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have almost every Diana Palmer book that is available. Love every hero and wish I was every heroine. This book doesn't disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BooksAndSpoons More than 1 year ago
My opinion of the story is a bit split, and I will do my best to explain why. First of all, the book has several parts, the beginning, the truth revealed, the twist, the memory returns, and the ending. I found the beginning of the story melancholy and desperate. The tone of the tale is dark and fierce, the hero is overwhelmingly hostile towards the heroine. But it gave a good foundation to the story for what's to come, and introduced the players. The truth revealed part was joyous, and cheerful. Finally, everything is open, honest, and loving, after so many years of waiting. I found the love scenes rushed and lacking of something, yet they were passionate and romantic. After so many years of hateful behavior from the hero towards the heroine, it was amazing how fast and swiftly she forgave him. The twist. Too much drama, too much happening, it was dragging along, and the story nearly lost me here. The rest of the story happens really fast, the story picks up, and things are happening, moving along. The ending was sweet, and adorable, the hero trying to redeem himself. I admire the heroine's ability to forgive, forget, and move on, with an ease after everything she went through. The plot was cluttered, lavished with events, the lifelong affection, loyalty, and love towards each other by the hero and heroine darling, and I even came to care for the characters towards the end. ~ Three Spoons