Lost in His Arms
In an era electric with possibility and peril Chloe Gray, political writer, and Michael Keller, CIA troubleshooter, meet under curiously conventional circumstances. Despite the instantaneous sparks, they both sense there is more between them than physical attraction. Chloe’s professional detachment from the dramatic world events of the 1990s—a disintegrating USSR, Middle East peace talks, and Vietnam’s reemergence on the world stage—dissolves as their love affair intensifies. Michael appears and disappears at unpredictable moments, leaving her limp and lovelorn. Is he using her or protecting her? In her quest for answers, she is yanked into the dangerous world of Michael’s work—in Washington, DC, in France, and in Spain. Looking for safe harbor (for her emotions? or her body?), she submits to the advances of a dashing French diplomat. Will she embrace the luxury and comfort of Emile and his chateau or the romance of international intrigue with Michael?
Chloe pulled his arm closer. "It is not just a cut. It's a gash. Look at all the blood you’ve dripped on my floor! Come here." She held his arm under the faucet and carefully washed the grit out of the wound. "Now just stay there. Press this paper towel against the cut. I'll go get some Neosporin and a bandage." She slipped up the stairs and through her bedroom to the bathroom. As she came out with the supplies she stopped short. He was sitting on her bed.
"I thought I would save you a trip." He spoke diffidently.
"Oh…that's…okay." Chloe willed herself not to touch his thigh as she sat down on the bed next to him (too close?). She applied the ointment and bandage, trying to keep her hands from trembling. He must have noticed anyway, because he put his larger one over hers and gently squeezed.
"Is the blood bothering you?"
She hesitated, breathless. He looked into her eyes, and before she knew it his arms went around her and she was kissing him. No, he was kissing her. She lost all sense of time and place and clung to his mouth as though she were drowning and it was a lifeboat. She felt herself falling, landing on his chest. He held her tightly, squeezing the life out of her. Or was it her soul he was drawing into his own? How could she tell him it was not his blood that was bothering her but her own, boiling up in waves of desire? He let her go reluctantly, but she held onto his buttons, tearing them off. She opened his shirt and buried her face in the soft black hairs of his chest. His hands went to her arms and gently moved her off him to the side. Slowly he undid her blouse, unhooked the bra and brushed each breast with his lips. She lay back, her eyes unfocussed, waiting for the touch, living for the scent of his hair. He looked up through his bangs and blasted her heart out with a glance of those azure eyes.
She did not need elaboration. She nodded mutely. He kissed her neck, her shoulders, her breasts, and down her stomach. A thousand butterflies fought to escape from her belly. He pulled down her zipper and tugged at the skirt. She still lay quietly, lost in pleasure. It all seemed to pass in slow motion. Everything felt perfect. Then he stopped. She opened her eyes. "What?"
His expression had altered. He was glaring at her, his face only inches away from hers. "What the Hell am I doing? This is nuts!" He sat up, facing away from her. She saw that she had taken his shirt off and his belt and zipper were undone. For some inexplicable reason his shoes were neatly arranged at the foot of the bed. She put a hand on his back. He stood up abruptly.
A sudden flash of panic hit her. He couldn't leave. Not now.
Lost and Found
What do you do when David, your husband of a year, ups and disappears? If you’re Rose Culloden, a beautiful, wealthy woman in her forties who had despaired of finding happiness, you do anything to find him. The trail takes you first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida, and back again to western Maine. Along the way you meet James Stewart—a Maine guide—who vividly highlights the contrast between a real man and your delicate Harvard professor of a husband. Loyal to your marriage despite your powerful attraction to James, it takes the dramatic discovery that David is not just vicious and venal, but insane, to free your heart for true love.
Rose would never forget the tight knot of panic squeezing her heart as she looked down, down an almost thousand-foot drop to moss-dusted crags, down through the cold wraiths of mist circling the mountain in the chill September air. Ignoring the fear, she took a tentative step forward, away from the comfort of the cliff face, felt the icy breath of high altitude fan her face, and retreated. What she’d thought was solid rock behind her yielded slightly and she froze, engulfed in a surge of terror. I’m going to fall. I’m going to die in agony, crushed on those distant jagged spears. The rock behind her moved again. She began to totter forward, but a furry paw seized her elbow. The paw tightened its grip, and Rose let it pull her sideways, back into a gap between the damp stone walls.
Okay, Rose, girl. Steady. Take a deep breath. Now, open your eyes and look at the paw. Five fingers encased in a furry glove. Okay. It’s human. She followed the fur up a forearm, then to a broad furry chest. She risked a peek at the dark face, encircled with more fur. It was scrunched up, not with the cold but with a cold fury. The deep brown eyes flashed. She meekly dropped her own. “I was perfectly safe, Mr. Stewart,” she whispered. Did that sound as stupid to him as it did to me?
The face scowled. Her rescuer moved around Rose and knocked lightly with his heel at the ledge on which she’d been standing. A large chunk broke off and tumbled in crumbly bits into the ether. She heard pops and bangs as it immolated itself on the crags below. Still scowling, he turned back to her. “Get back to the others.” His voice was deep and primal.
by M. S. Spencer
eBook, 72,000 words, contemporary romantic suspense
M/F, 3 flames
Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk. It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder. Only she doesn’t know it. Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know. Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge. Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.
Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?
EXCERPT Losers Keepers by M. S. Spencer
As she leapt out of bed to rescue the pot someone knocked at the front door. She checked the clock. 8:00. A bit early. Maybe it’s the milkman. She clucked at her little joke, but took a moment to smooth her hair and flip off her fuzzy slippers. Halfway down the stairs, she peered through the glass door to see a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette. Someone new? And handsome too! Panting only slightly, she tripped on the last step and almost fell flat. Ingesting a couple of ragged gulps, she called, “Who is it?”
“Miss Lonegan? It’s Tom Ellis. I’m the Chincoteague Refuge Manager. I’d like to ask you a couple of questions.”
Questions? Dagne opened the door and took a step back. A tall, remarkably good-looking man in the tan uniform of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stood on the mat. His dark brown eyes flecked with cream reminded her of the Sika elk that roamed Assateague. The flat-rimmed ranger hat obscured his hair but his tanned face sported a bit of five o’clock shadow, which only served to highlight the straight Roman nose. He smiled a dazzling smile and stuck his hand out. “Miss Lonegan?”
“May I come in?” Dagne realized she was still holding his hand and gazing hungrily into those chocolate eyes. She shook her head to clear it.
“Of course, of course.” She led the way into the living room and indicated one of the easy chairs patterned in blue ponies. She sat on the sleep sofa, only to jump up hastily to clear the coffee table of half-filled take-out boxes and bits of underwear, her face burning. The ranger sat quietly, hat in hand, while she bustled about trying not to stare at his large, strong hands. A full head of rich brown hair too—is there anything that isn’t gorgeous about him? “Sorry. I’ve just moved in and I haven’t had time to organize or even grocery shop.”
“I understand. Cora Anne said you’re staying for a year?”
Chincoteague sure was a small town. “Yes. I’m trying to write a novel.”
“That’s wonderful.” He didn’t seem surprised at the news. The pause lengthened. Dagne finally settled down on the sofa. “Well…Mr. Ellis, is it? What can I do for you?” How about a big, wet one?
“Miss Lonegan, as I mentioned, I supervise the wildlife refuge. I don’t know whether you’ve heard, but there’s been a murder.”
Dagne took a moment to pull her jaw back up and her eyes back in. “A what?”
“A murder. We found the body Saturday morning. On the refuge.”
“No, I had no idea. I haven’t talked to anyone yet today.” Wait a minute. When was I trapped on the Woodland Trail? “Saturday? The day before yesterday?”
“Yes.” He studied her, his eyes sharp. “I heard you were there the afternoon before. I mean, on the refuge. On Friday. Nick, one of our volunteers, said he talked to you.”
Dagne tried to think. “Yes, that’s right. I stopped in at the visitors’ center just at closing around four. I’d seen a fawn with a broken leg on the Swan Cove trail and wanted to let them know.”
“And where did you go after that?”
“I decided to walk the Woodland Trail.”
He sat forward eagerly. “You did? Did you see anyone else on the path?”
“There were a few people, yes. But they were heading back when I started walking. I was alone for most of the hike.”
“Did you see anyone in the parking lot?”
“No. No one. By the time I got back to my car everyone had gone.”
“What made you decide to go so late in the day?”
Why did this begin to sound like an interrogation? She hoped she didn’t sound like a person with something to hide, but his close scrutiny made her nervous. “I…I didn’t really think about the time. I’d been working and thought I’d take a break and get some exercise. To tell the truth, I’d forgotten how long the trail was. When the sun went down the place spooked me a bit and I ran most of the way back.”
“Hmmm.” He sat back. A couple of minutes ticked by while he seemed lost in reverie.
“Mr. Ellis? Who was murdered?”
“What? Oh, please, call me Tom. The victim? A local girl, name of Terri Aster.”
“Oh dear. And have you caught the murderer?”
“No, ma’am. We’re just following up leads, looking for possible witnesses. That sort of thing.” He looked grim.
“I see…Tom. And you can call me Dagne.” God, he’s cute. Did I just simper?
“Dagne. Nice name.” He smiled, and a little tingling sensation trickled up her back. “Anyway, we don’t have much to go on yet. We’re questioning anyone who visited the refuge on Friday or early Saturday.”
Curiosity getting the better of prudence, Dagne ventured, “So, how was she killed?”
Tom stopped smiling. “I’m afraid it would be inappropriate to give out details at this stage.” He stood. “Here’s my card. I may have to interview you again. Since we found the body on federal property I’ll be in charge of the investigation. Make sure you get in touch if you think of anything else that might be of interest. For example, if you saw or heard anything unusual.”
It was on the tip of her tongue to make a flirtatious reply, but she bit it instead. Talk about inappropriate timing!—but he was so gorgeous, so polite, so different from Jack. Maybe, just maybe….