Today I have an excerpt and giveaway of INTIMATE ENEMIES by Joan Swan. To be eligible to win one of the two copies Joan is giving away, all you need to do is leave a comment and a way to contact you (profile, email etc. ) and I’ll pick 2 winners on Wednesday August 8th (midnight CET).
You can earn an extra entry by commenting HERE on my review of INTIMATE ENEMIES from Friday!
Six months after the mysterious yacht explosion that killed Cassie Christo’s mother and stepbrother, authorities still have no answers to the cause. Searching for closure, Cassie returns to her childhood home on the Pacific Coast of Baja, Mexico, where she launches her own investigation into the accident. She never expected to find an adversary in the man who had once touched her heart with kindness in her darkest moment.
Rio’s been fantasizing about reconnecting with Cassie for months. But not here and sure as hell not now. As an undercover agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he’s working the biggest sting operation in all of northern Mexico, and he definitely doesn’t have time for the wild attraction he feels for Cassie.
Not only is his cover on the line, so is his heart. Because as the end of a yearlong operation draws closer, Rio knows if he tells Cassie the truth about who and what he is, it won’t only jeopardize his mission, it may result in him losing her forever. And if he doesn’t, his lies and deception could get them both killed.
She drew in a breath and knocked. Her hands automatically returned to tangled, wringing fingers, and she couldn’t pull them apart before Rio opened the door.
Her heart tightened with apprehension, skipped with hope. One look at his face, and her stomach dropped with dread. Still pissed. And clearly disturbed. She knew how hard it was to close the door on those horrible memories once it had been opened. Knowing she’d been the one to break that seal on Rio’s demons flooded Cassie with guilt.
“You’re the last person I expected to see tonight.” He looked over her shoulder as if he wasn’t interested in her presence. “What do you need, Cass?”
“I need to apologize,” she said. “Are you going to make me do it on your porch?”
He dropped his gaze to the stone at their bare feet and rubbed the back of his neck. He’d changed into cargo shorts and a T-shirt. He looked rugged and carelessly sexy. “It’s been a long, rough day. I don’t want to fight. Again.”
“Okay. I guess I deserve this. I’ll just say what I came to say, then.” Disappointment weighted down her shoulders. “You were right; I was completely out of line. And you were also right about me trying to get you to hit me.” That brought his gaze up. “But not because I like it; because I was testing you. Not consciously. I wasn’t planning on testing you. But subconsciously, yes. Saul brought up some bad memories for me, and I…needed to know—for sure—that no matter how far I pushed you, no matter what I did or said, I’d be safe with you.”
And now that she’d said it out loud, she realized how incredibly screwed up she still was even after she’d escaped rape, put her attacker behind bars, and been through years of therapy.
She threaded her fingers, feeling more defeated than victorious. Rio’s disinterest was probably better for both of them.
“I feel horrible that I touched such a painful place for you. If I’d known…” She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter; I shouldn’t have done it in the first place. That’s…what I came to say.”
She stared at his chest and held her breath. Promised herself she’d wait three seconds before she turned to leave. One one-thousand. Two one-thousand. Three one-thousand.
“You never answered my question,” Rio finally said. “Do you have a boyfriend…now?”
The air left her lungs on a sigh, and a fresh wave of embarrassment surged. She could have avoided this whole mess with just a simple answer to his original question. “No.”
When he didn’t say anything, didn’t move, she added, “I, um…haven’t had one in a long time and…honestly…”—fear pinched her stomach—“I haven’t had many.”
Still nothing. Aggravation edged out her relief. She looked around the dark night. Heaved a breath. Finally met his eyes. “Are you really going to make me stand out here to talk about this?”
“What happened at the clinic today?”
Her shoulders slumped. She should have known she couldn’t simply show up and end up in his bed two minutes later.
Irritation burned, and she let it flare in her eyes when she met his again. “Take a wild guess, Rio.”
“Yes. Nina. There are consequences to a lousy reputation. And not all of those will keep you or others safe.” She crossed her arms. “And now I’m pissed. You ass. I can’t even apologize without getting pissed at you.”
He smiled. Just a little.
“Oh my God.” A mix of humor and aggravation burned in her chest. “Don’t you even.”
His grin grew wide, and her heart stretched in spite of her irritation. He reached out, grabbed one of her forearms still crossed tight at her chest, and pulled her toward the door. “Since you don’t have a boyfriend, I guess you can come inside.”
“Maybe I don’t want to come in anymore.” She resisted just enough to make him put some effort into getting her over the threshold.
Cassie’s gaze skipped over the familiar space—really just a tiny one-bedroom cottage, but with the amenities of a five-star hotel. Marble, stainless steel, leather. High ceilings, lots of windows. Flat-screen television, surround-sound stereo, minibar, granite kitchen and bathroom.
Rio had set up a weight system in one corner of the small living room—which explained all those muscles she’d been dreaming about. A silver laptop sat open on the coffee table, its screen dark. The room had a soft glow from the single low light in the corner.
He closed the door, ran both hands over her upper arms, his gaze on the exposed skin of her chest. “I was pretty out of line too.”
His hands curved over her shoulders; one slipped around her nape, the other caressed her cheek with the backs of his fingers. Cassie’s frustration transitioned into that fiery want she’d come with. Only on a whole different, deeper level. She unfolded her arms and curled her hands into the cotton of his T-shirt.
“What happened to my sister”—he shook his head—“I’ve never quite let it go. I’m overly sensitive. I shouldn’t have blown up like that.”
She leaned in, pushed up, and pressed her lips to his. Hadn’t planned to, just needed to. And now that they were there, a whole lot of other need exploded in the foreground.
Rio hummed in pleasure. His eyes fell closed a second before Cassie’s did. His hand tightened on her neck, drawing her into him. His mouth opened and took hers with all that amazing heat and skill.
Within ten seconds, Rio had her body molded to his, controlling her hips with an arm low on her back, controlling her mouth with the hand at her neck. Within twenty, Cassie’s head was swimming, her body straining.
She broke from his mouth and sucked air. His hand fisted and released restlessly at her hip. Cassie’s did the same in his T-shirt.
“I want you,” she said, breaths uneven and fast. “No more excuses. I want you right now.”
Joan Swan Bio
I write what I like to read: romantic suspense. I write for entertainment and escape–the same reasons I love to read. I prefer real-life language, so you’ll find profanity in my work when it fits the character. I prefer open-door sex, so my love scenes are typically hot and steamy. And because my stories involve suspense, you’ll often find violence, mystery and an inside look at the intricate world of forensics. Occasionally, I like to dabble in the lighter side of paranormal as well.
I am agented by the fabulous Paige Wheeler, founding partner of Folio Literary Management in New York. My debut novel, FEVER, released from Kensington Brava in April 2012. Book 2 in the series, BLAZE, releases fall 2012. My editor at Kensington is the wonderful Alicia Condon, Editorial Director for Brava.
A triple RWA Golden Heart finalist as well as a double Daphne Du Maurier finalist, I am a lover of craft and closet-hoarder of writing craft how-to books.
In my day job, I work as a sonographer at UCSF Medical Center, a location with an intensity that makes me slightly insane…which works well with the writer in me. Not to mention all the character material I have access to–and I’m not talking about the patients (well…mostly).
I have been married twenty years to my own personal hero, a veteran firefighter, we have two beautiful daughters and are blessed to live in the heart of wine country on the gorgeous Central Coast of California.
To keep up with Joan’s latest news & releases please visit her online: