Action–a little different kind. I’ve decided to feature Rising, Freestyle this week and Falling, Freestyle next week. These are the first two books in the Xtreme Adventures series, and they will be coming out in a print anthology FREESTYLE June 5, 2012.
Xtreme Adventures, Book 2
Stuck between a rock-solid man and a hard place…
Melanie Dixon’s body may have recovered from a horrific climbing accident, but her nerve is long gone. So is the natural enthusiasm for life she took for granted. Tired of being scared, beyond ready to conquer her fears, she pulls up stakes and moves to her brother’s new hometown to start over. Her first step is the most terrifying—to tackle the wall at the local climbing center.
Derrick James is mesmerized by Melanie’s dark beauty, and equally impressed with her climbing abilities and determination. Watching her retune rusty skills spurs a desire to partner with her—on and off the ropes. Melanie’s a compelling mix of wit, sensuality and vulnerability, and it’s his delicious task to convince her the scars on her body are no match for the heat rising between them.
Then a man from Melanie’s past shows up, pushing their relationship to the edge. Nathan King wants photographs for a “where are they now” series, but his side agenda is more personal in nature. A proposal that brings her out of her sensual shell and onto a precarious sexual ledge. Where trust is crucial…and too easily shattered.
Warning: This book may cause heart-pounding, body-shaking adrenaline attacks—and that’s before they leave the climbing gym. Contains blindfolds, ropes and a healthy dose of voyeurism. Go on—you know you like to watch.
Beta: Climbing slang that means to gather information about a route.
“Go on, you can do it.”
Melanie remained immobile, gaze glued to where her fingers wrapped around the holds on the climbing wall. The dark Adonis holding her safety rope had been nothing but positive and upbeat with her since she’d signed up for the private climbing lessons. Even without looking she could picture him, his wide smile bright against his tanned skin. Dark hair slightly messed, chocolate-brown eyes that made her think all kinds of naughty things.
“The next hold in the route is that blue one, off to the right. Match your feet, transfer your weight and you’ll be there in no time.”
As she moved to follow his instructions, she wondered for the millionth time if he was staring at her butt simply to help her find the best route, or if he was staring at her butt for more nefarious reasons.
She could only dream it was the second.
Derrick James was everything she’d dreamed of in a guy. Tall, dark and good with ropes. Now if she could get up the nerve to make a move on him other than when they were checking each other’s harnesses for secure straps.
Concentrate. She needed to focus on the wall, not the dry spell in her sex life. Even if dry was the wrong word to depict something comparable to the Sahara during a drought.
A few adjustments later she’d made it to the hold he’d described.
“Awesome job. You want to go higher?” he asked.
Oh man. There were many things she wanted. She wanted to drag her fingers through his long hair and pull his head to hers for a kiss that would make her toes curl. If he happened to use his strong fingers on her back for a massage that somehow turned into a more erotic playtime, that would be fine as well. Maybe letting her crawl over him as they writhed together in wild, passionate lovemaking that would leave her gasping for breath and sexually sated. All of those were on the instant “hell, yeah” list.
Going past the fifteen-foot mark on the vertical climbing wall? That one wasn’t nearly as easy a decision.
Melanie stared upward. The holds were simple on this section of the wall, the route easy to follow. Old training patterns kicked in and she automatically shifted her weight as she saw the correct sequence to reach for next. She could do this.
Until she turned and looked down. The floor wavered beneath her, fading farther and nearer like some freaky optical illusion. She clung to her handholds as her tongue stuck to the dry roof of her mouth. Fear laced through her, a shot of adrenaline making her limbs shake and all the blood rush from her head.
“I got you.” The harness around her hips snugged upward as Derrick took in the slack of the rope and secured her in place. “That’s as high as you’re going right now, Melanie. Just take a deep breath. You’re okay.”
The bulging muscles of his arms as he held the belay ropes blurred into the background as she stared into his eyes. Her heart pounded, there was a ringing in her ears and she needed to pee. It took too much effort to squeeze out the words, and she sounded like a two-year-old. “Don’t drop me.”
“I’ve got you,” he repeated. His expression was no longer the sexy one that got her blood pumping. There was deep concern, and suddenly the corner of his mouth was the most important thing for her to concentrate on. Because if she looked at his mouth, and thought about kissing that spot, then she didn’t need to think about the fact she hung in the air above a hard floor. Didn’t have to think about how much it would hurt if she fell again. “I need you to look at the wall, Melanie. Just turn and look at the wall so I can lower you. You understand? I’m not going to drop you. You’re safe, but I need you in position to get you down.”
“Scared.” Throat tight. Breathing tough.
“I know, but I promise you’re safe. I’m not going to drop you, and you know it. Want me to lift you a tiny bit? Prove that you’re secure?”
She nodded rapidly. He leaned back and pulled easily, no more than a couple of inches. It was enough to make her body rise and take the weight off her shaking legs. Mel snapped her head back to face the wall. It took conscious effort to loosen her death grip and press her hips away from the wall. Letting go of the handholds made her heart leap to her throat, but she didn’t change elevation. Derrick held her in one spot, rock solid and firm. Quickly, she wrapped one hand around the rope at her chest level, the other thrust toward the wall for protection. She moistened her lips so she could speak.
“Lower.” The climbing command stuck in her throat, but she got it out.
“Lowering. Good girl.” His deep voice enveloped her and she let the warmth act as a protective barrier.
Her descent was so smooth and slow she had time to walk her way down the wall like a little child inching down a sidewalk following a snail. She hung in a modified sitting position as she relied on him to control her motion. He did an amazing job—even the stop at the bottom came smoothly, no sudden jerk to startle her already overwrought nerves.
Why in the world had she thought facing her fears and learning to climb again was a good idea?
Snippets providers today include: Lauren Dane , Anne Rainey, Mari Carr, McKenna Jeffries, Myla Jackson, Selena Blake, Taige Crenshaw, Vivian Arend , Delilah Devlin, HelenKay Dimon, Shelli Stevens, Lacey Savage
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Oh, yes, there is a theme happening here. Today, and for the next three days I’ve got sexy cowboy action on the blog. Starting with a snippet from this coming Tuesday’s release, Rocky Mountain Heat. Come back tomorrow and Monday for some other hot and rowdy cowboy books to lasso up, and then Tuesday for the big event.
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