The Three Musketeers: Midnight Heat: A Loveswept Classic Romance

The Three Musketeers: Midnight Heat: A Loveswept Classic Romance

by Donna Kauffman

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Overview

The third novel in the Three Musketeers series by Donna Kauffman is Midnight Heat, a tantalizing story of two people finally learning to fly.
 
They call themselves the Three Musketeers: three lifelong friends, men who will put it all on the line in the name of honor and loyalty. Friendship is the most important thing in Dane Colbourne’s life—apart from his job as a determined investigator who never leaves a case unsolved. After the near-catastrophic midair collision of two planes, Dane focuses his laserlike intensity on the air traffic controller who appears to be responsible. But when she claims innocence with equal ferocity, Dane knows he may finally have met his match.
 
Adria Burke has gone over the details of “the incident” in her head: She is certain there was a third plane in the air at the time of the collision, and that she actually saved hundreds of lives with her commands. But how can she convince Dane of the truth? As they try to ignore the fact that there is an undeniable spark between them, together Adria and Dane uncover evidence that there was something else going on in the sky the night of the incident. But will their passion leave both of them permanently grounded?
 
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Blaze of Winter, Light My Fire, and Santerra’s Sin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345537843
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/08/2012
Series: The Three Musketeers , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 977,364
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Bestselling author Donna Kauffman has published more than fifty titles and many have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She began her career by writing under the Loveswept imprint then later moved on to write paranormal and chick-lit novels. She currently lives in Virginia.

Read an Excerpt

ONE
 
The Predator was coming. For her.
 
Adria Burke had heard the whispers over an hour ago as she sat in the small airless office deep in the bowels of Washington, D.C.’s, Metropolitan Airport.
 
The Predator. The National Transportation Safety Board investigator Dane Colbourne. The man who never left a case unsolved. The man now assigned to cover “the incident.”
 
Her incident.
 
Adria watched the hour hand click onto the four. Four A.M. She huffed out a sigh and shifted her gaze to the coffee dregs at the bottom of her cup. She identified with those unwanted dregs. Other than a lengthy and at times heated discussion with her supervisor,Mark Beck, she hadn’t spoken to a soul since midnight.
 
“Where is this guy?”
 
It was at least the hundredth time she’d wondered it, but the first time she’d said it out loud. The sound of her own voice, tired and scratchy, did little to boost her morale.
 
She’d reviewed in exacting detail her role in the midair collision that had taken place shortly after she’d assumed her position in the control tower. And each time she’d come to the same conclusion: It wasn’t her fault. If she were faced with the same horrifying scenario again, she’d make the same decisions, issue the same commands. That the two pilots, their crews, and passengers had somehow come out of it safely had been a miracle.
 
But that a major disaster had been averted was not the issue. Two planes had collided, and now she was under investigation. If Dane Colbourne reached the conclusion that she was negligent, she’d likely pay the price of being forced to leave.
 
Adria had considered her assignment to Metro a huge personal and professional victory. Losing it, after she’d fought so hard, after the private hell she’d been through …
 
It was simply unthinkable.
 
But lose it she very well might. And then she could kiss her career good-bye. Unless she could get someone to believe in her side of the story. Beck hadn’t wanted to hear about the fact that up until seconds before the Liberty and AirWest planes collided, there had been a third plane—a primary target—on her display, in the same area as the other two planes. A plane whose direction and speed had decided her on her course of action.
 
Where in hell had that damn plane come from? And more important, where had it gone? It had simply disappeared from her display. And why wouldn’t anyone believe her?
 
That the last man she had a shot at convincing was referred to in awed whispers as the Predator only increased the dull throbbing in her temples.
 
She looked to the door, willing it to open. Willing the man she was waiting for to enter.
 
She treated her tired mind to the pleasure of imagining what Colbourne must look like. Over fifty, beady eyes, thinning hair held in place with Brylcreem. Short, stocky, serious attitude problem. Anal-retentive as hell. He was probably ex-military, the sort who ate gravel for breakfast, then spat it at everyone who got in his path the rest of the day.
 
Jack Nicholson’s face swam into her mind. “Ooooh, the Predator,” she whispered in mock horror.
 
That very instant the door swung open.
 
Choking hard on the laugh that had crept up into her throat, Adria stared in shock at the man who entered the room.
 
So much for over fifty. He couldn’t be much older than her own thirty-one. Short was definitely out as well; he was easily six feet, with well-distributed muscles. She didn’t catch his eyes as he passed, so beady was still a possibility. What she did see of his face was all strong, clean angles. Now she understood what chiseled features meant. His hair wasn’t oily or thinning. It was thick, wavy, and light brown, cut razor sharp in a way that enhanced the chiseled look.
 
But it wasn’t any of those things that had her jaw dropping.
 
It was the crisp, white, perfectly tailored tuxedo with tails he was wearing.
 
Any hope she’d had of regaining her composure fled when he stopped at a metal desk and turned around. His cummerbund was a painfully bright fuchsia. She had no idea where he’d found a rose to match. But there was one, pinned to his white satin lapel.
 
This was the Predator?
 
Adria barely restrained herself from asking how Barbie had ever let him leave the dream house.
 
He slapped a stack of folders onto the desk. The chair squeaked as he pulled it out, and protested even louder when he sat. He said nothing, simply began to scan the contents of the top file. He had yet to look in her direction.
 
Irritation crowded out Adria’s surprise. Well, she hadn’t been completely skunked. She’d apparently hit the bull’s-eye on his severe attitude problem. And from the arrow-straight back and perfectly squared shoulders to the neatly piled folders, she bet she wasn’t too far off on the anal-retentive assessment either. Even his rose hadn’t wilted.
 
Although he probably wouldn’t appreciate her concern, she took a second and tried to dredge up some sympathy for him. He’d obviously been dragged away from some important function. She half wondered if it wasn’t his own wedding. That wouldn’t surprise her in the least.
 
A full minute passed and still no sign that he was aware of her. She sighed in disgust. If he’d thought to ambush her with his getup and intimidate her with his silent treatment, then he was in for a rude surprise. She’d learned that game at the feet of a master.
 
She stood and held out her hand. “Mr. Colbourne, I presume?”
 
No response came while he continued his silent study. Adria felt the heat of anger climb into her cheeks. Unwise words were on the very tip of her tongue when he finally spoke.
 
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” he said, not looking up or sounding the least bit sorry. In fact, there was no emotion in his voice at all.
 
She was sorely tempted to ask him if he always conducted his interrogations in formal wear, just to see if she could get a reaction—any reaction—out of him. The impulse was instantly forgotten when he suddenly raised his head and looked directly at her for the first time.
 
“You can take a seat, Ms. Burke. This will probably take a while.”
 
Adria’s still-proffered hand dropped to her side while she stared at his eyes. Hazel. A muted green with just a hint of gold. Faintly bloodshot, with little fatigue lines at the corners. All in all, not the kind of eyes that should warrant any special attention.
 
So why did they capture hers?
 
A shiver tickled her spine. She had the odd sensation that he was testing her. She felt … well, the only word she could think of was pinned. And she really hated it.
 
He dipped his chin, his gaze flicking to the chair behind her. “I’m ready to begin.”
 
The reality of the situation hit her. He was calling the shots. He was also her last hope. She’d learned the value of asserting herself, but she hadn’t forgotten that timing was everything. And now wasn’t the time. So she merely nodded, then sat down.
 
“I’d like to ask you some specific questions about your actions immediately after taking control of your position.”
 
She swallowed hard against the almost desperate need to blurt out her view of the night’s events, forcing him to listen and believe. She’d tried that with Beck and had gotten nowhere. Instead, she curled her fingers into fists, then slowly, purposefully relaxed them. A stress-management technique she’d mastered during her divorce. Or precisely, enduring. Studiously avoiding the Predator’s attire, she focused on a point between his eyes and blanked her own expression to match his.
 
“Ask away,” she said, proud of the steady tone.
 
“I understand that shortly after taking control of your position last night, you issued an altitude change to Liberty Flight 576. Is that correct?”
 
“Yes, it’s correct.” She didn’t mention the fact that Pete Moore, the controller who held the shift before her, had left the plane dangerously close to the AirWest plane. “There was a third plane—” she continued on.
 
“Please, Ms. Burke,” he interrupted. “Just answer my questions yes or no for the time being.”
 
Of all the … Stay cool. Stay calm. One benefit of being an air-traffic controller was the conditioned response to high-stress situations. This certainly qualified.
 
Adding control freak to her mental description list of the Predator, she clenched her teeth and said, “Yes, sir.”
 
He held her gaze for an interminable second, then dropped it back to the notes. “The Liberty pilot reports you then issued a radar warning about a primary target, followed by new coordinates and another change in altitude.”
 
“Yes.”
 
“You then issued new coordinates to the AirWest pilot, after which the pilot received a TCAS warning,” he said, referring to the Traffic Collision Avoidance System, a mechanism onboard each aircraft. “You countermanded that warning due to the supposed involvement of the primary target.”
 
She remained silent.
 
After a long while he gave her a hard look. “Ms. Burke?”
 
“Yes?” Adria blamed exhaustion for her irrational need to bring him down a notch. But really, the situation was tense enough without his attitude filling up the room.
 
“You have no response?”
 
“Yes, I do. But you didn’t ask me a direct yes-or-no question. I was simply trying to follow orders. Sir.”
 
A scowl began to form in his mouth. Adria couldn’t suppress the pleasure she took in that tiny victory. So, he could feel an emotion after all. Even if it was irritation.
 
The Predator tossed his pencil on the desk and leaned back in his chair. “It’s been a long night, Ms. Burke. I really don’t have the patience to sit here and play games with you.”
 
Adria imagined he had unlimited patience. Most hunters did.
 

Customer Reviews

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Midnight Heat 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
3rd book in the series. Good light read. Not my favorite of the series but worth the read. Loved Adria strong personality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: This has been a great series and I have been really pleasantly surprised by just how much I have enjoyed all three books. The three books are tied together by three best friends who go by the Three Musketeers, but that is the only thing that ties these books. All three story lines are completely different. Although these guys stay in touch and lend a helping hand, they lead very different lives and are in completely different lines of work. As a result, while consistently good reads, each of these books reads very differently. They definitely don't follow a set story outline like so many series books do...and I liked that! You absolutely could read any of these books as a stand alone novel and never miss the other two, although I do recommend all three of them. They were good! This book is about Dane, twin to Dara, the heroine in book #2 and of course one of the three musketeers. Dane is an airline accident investigator with a reputation for being ruthless and unfeeling about getting to the truth of what happened. (He has to be that way to get through these investigations which usually involve a lot of death and carnage.) Adria is thankful that he's on the case because she is an Air Traffic Controller and it was under her watch that two planes had an in-air collision. It was only because of amazing flying by the pilots that kept them from crashing and killing hundreds of people. BUT Adria wasn't at fault. There was a third airplane there which she swears was the plane that actually caused the accident, but now there is no evidence to support her claims. Something is wrong and it's up to Dane to figure out who is telling the truth. The romance in this book was great. These are two people who absolutely CANNOT get involved while this investigation is going on, but they are tired, stressed, and at their limit and just can't help themselves. But they gave it a valiant effort...hehe. I liked these two characters. They have a lot in common in that they live for their jobs and both their jobs are on the line with this investigation, but as they get to know each other, they begin to realize just what exactly is important. Then there is the whole suspense story line which I simply couldn't figure out. It was good and definitely kept me guessing up until the very end. I've enjoyed all three of these books. I'm happy that I picked them up to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
twocoulters More than 1 year ago
Thanks to the publisher, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for the chance to read this! I loved the dynamics and banter between these characters. Oh boy this book had some moments in it, the chemistry between these two was off the charts. A very enticing read that will satisfy your need for romance – the suspense was lacking. It wrapped the series up perfectly - including seeing the HEA of the other 2 Musketeers. This is the third & final book in the romantic suspense series, The Three Musketeers, by Donna Kauffman: – Midnight Heat is a re-issue of a Loveswept Classic Romance #776 originally published 02/96. Other Installments: #1 (Jarrett McCullough’s story) - Surrender the Dark #2 (Zach Brogan’s story) - Born to Be Wild Disclosure: This ebook was provided to me free of charge through NetGalley for the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments, and ratings are my own.