Romance writer Nikki Brooks never thought she’d see her childhood nemesis again after high school, when he played a heartless trick on her that got her kicked off the school paper staff and made her a laughing stock. That is, until now.
Mark Trapani hasn't seen Nikki in twelve long years, since she graduated and left him behind. Since then, he's finished college and worked hard to earn the rank of detective. No more pranks or boyish stunts.
Neither of them is happy to be stuck together in a closed ski lodge on Valentine's Day, but a murderer has threatened Nikki's life, and Marc has been assigned to protect her. Then disaster happens, and Nikki must rely solely on Marc as they flee the lodge and trek to safety through the snow.
"Mr. Dawson." Nikki's plaintive tone dug its claws into Marc's skin.
He turned to find her stalking toward them across the lobby, and his jaw dropped. Damn. Gone was the lanky tomboy he'd known way back when, and in her place was a gorgeous, full-blooded, all American woman with kinky red hair, a furious expression, and flashing green eyes. A lioness after her prey.
Those eyes locked on his face, and she lifted her chin. "Well, I see my valiant protector has finally decided to grace us with his presence."
"Hi, Nikki." Marc offered her his hand. "Good to see you."
She ignored his gesture and focused on the AUSA. "How long until the Internet connection is restored in our room?"
"Not for some time, I'm afraid," he said. "The clerk said they're lucky to have electricity in the bridal suite. The cable in that section is out right now, and he can't do anything about it -- so don't ask."
"The bridal suite?" Marc and Nikki chorused together.
Marc narrowed his eyes. "You've got to be kidding."
"You can say that again," Nikki snapped. "We can't stay in there."
"Come on, Dawson," Marc said. "See if they can't give us another room. Please."
"I'm sorry, Marshal, but I've already tried. A group of workmen is staying at the hotel to get a jump on repairs, and with the entire east wing out of commission..."
Nikki gulped back another denial. Marc looked too handsome for words. The idea of spending the weekend locked away with him in any hotel room, much less the bridal suite of this upscale lodge, sent her pulse racing out of control, and desire blindsided her. She jerked her gaze back to the perplexed Mr. Dawson. "Is there no place else we can go? Another hotel with an Internet connection?"
"No. We chose this lodge for its remoteness. You and Marshal Trapani should be safe here. I'm sorry, but you'll just have to deal with the inconvenience."
Inconvenience? Being offline for a long period of time was more like a catastrophe. Nikki clenched her hands. She'd rather have been smothered in the avalanche that had destroyed the other half of the building.
"Fine. We'll endure each other somehow," Marc said. "Where do we go?"
Dawson nodded briskly. "Follow me."
Posted by Toni Noel on 17th Feb 2013
Author Nikki Brooks objects to being sequestered with body guard and former school friend, Detective Marc Trapani, who once played an unforgivable trick on her. She looses count after Marc saves her life not once, but twice, and provides such delicious inspiration for her current work-in-progress she soon forgets she objects to having him around.
Author Melanie Atkins writes scenes so packed with sexual tension she had me squirming in my seat as I read Valentine Vendetta.