Meet Harriet Ruby, an MIT graduate with a degree in languages, whose life has been good but ordinary and predictable. Wanting new experiences before settling down to career and family, she accepts a position as a tour director in Europe.
Meet Will Talbot, a handsome Europol spy and covert government operative with a dark troubled past, major trust issues, and dissociative amnesia. Driven by guilt over something he believes he did, he has a penchant for rescuing innocent victims.
Harriet’s first solo stint as a tour director Morocco goes well until they get lost in the walled market in Tangier. There, one of her tourists becomes ill. Harriet needs to find a doctor, can’t speak Arabic, and doesn’t know how to get out of the walled city. A handsome, mysterious stranger, Will Talbot, examines the tourist, pronounces him dead, and offers to help her smuggle the body out of Morocco.
Wow again. The stranger was drop-dead gorgeous. My cheeks warmed as I rummaged around for a witty response and came up empty.
He rose, ignoring my embarrassment, made a slight bow, and held out his hand. All charm. "William Talbot, at your service. Call me Will."
I cleared my throat so I could speak. "Hello, Will." I shook his hand with a firm grip, determined not to be judged as weak. "I'm Harriet Ruby, tour director with Adventure Seekers Travel."
He eyed Archie, collapsed on the table. His nose twitched slightly. "Won't you join me over here?"
I must admit, by now Archie did smell a little ripe. I nodded and moved to the empty chair at his table.
After we sat, he raised his thick, dark brows. "Tell me, how is it that a tour director needs help getting out of the medina?"
"This is my first solo as a tour director here in Europe." I lifted my shoulders in a shrug. "To make a long story short, I was supposed to be an assistant trainee for the season with the regular guide who does these Spain-Morocco trips. Unfortunately for both of us, he was in a motorcycle accident the day before we left. So here I am."
"They turned you loose in Morocco alone?" He sounded incredulous.
"Not exactly." I quickly explained my situation. "I have plenty of experience as a tour guide in the States, and my driver has done this trip for years. We were doing fine until Archie Philpot got sick. Now I need to get my group back to the bus so I can find a doctor for him."
"You haven't got a clue, do you?"
It hadn't taken him long to peg me, had it? Who was this guy? A mind reader? My face flushed again, and I hoped he hadn't tapped into my less-than-chaste thoughts.
"Right." What else could I say?
"Well, then." He pushed back his chair and stood, tall, well muscled, and somehow even more handsome than before. Upright, he exuded the slightest hint of danger which made me tingle all over. I was always a pushover for the bad boy type.
"I'm not a doctor, but I've had some medical training. Let me take a look."
I braced my hands on the tabletop and rose slowly. Did I dare put the health of one of my tourists into the hands of a complete stranger just because I found him attractive? My first inclination was to trust Will, and I did need help. Archie Philpot was depending on me. Since nothing really bad or traumatic had ever happened to me, I believed everyone meant well. Things would always work out, right? Nonetheless…"I appreciate your concern, but the welfare of these tourists is my responsibility. I don't even know you."
He watched my hesitation and smiled. My temperature rose another five degrees, and my insides went squishy. Yikes. That smile could melt diamonds.
"Ex-military, Special Forces," he whispered. "Trust me."
What choice did I have? I sighed and nodded. I mean, I would be standing right next to him, wouldn't I? What could happen?
He shot me a nod of approval, then gently lifted the old man's head, peered into his eyes, and took his pulse at the neck. Since this stranger seemed to know what he was doing and didn't need my advice, I counted my flock again to appease my paranoia over them disappearing a second time.
"Is he very sick?" I asked Will in a whisper, moving close so the others wouldn't overhear. "Do I need to take him to a hospital?"
He straightened and squeezed my hand in his. "No, Harriet, there's no need to take him to a hospital," he replied in a low, grim tone, softened by a curious look in his eyes. "I'm afraid Archie Philpot is quite dead."