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I’m bursting with excitement, fear, and relief. On the one hand, all my hard work (and my editor’s) has come to an end for this book. On the other hand, with this one out there, I need to get hustling on Book 2 (which is already in the works, never fear).

I really love this series. The characters are incredibly fun to write and the world offers endless possibilities. So ever onward, I suppose!

And, as the title promised, here’s a brief teaser from Chapter Five of Touching Heat:

~Natalie woke up slowly, her senses coming alive before her mind did. She was warm and under a soft blanket, her head on a fluffy pillow. Someone was next to her, a solid body. She shifted towards it, recognizing it even though she had no conscious idea of who it was. It just felt…safe. She wanted to curl up with it and sleep more, but something was keeping her from drifting away again.

Her hand was numb. That was it. She was lying on it wrong or something. She tugged at it, disengaging it from whatever was holding it. She sighed, rolling over.

Something ripped at her hip, cutting her through the blanket and her jeans.

She sat up, screaming as pain shot through her. The dim motel room swam into focus just as a ragged tear appeared on her calf. She screamed again.

Arms wrapped around her. The air settled and the attack stopped immediately.

“Shhh, I’ve got you,” Ian said, holding her tightly against his chest. He’d taken his shirt off at some point while she’d slept. Natalie pressed herself to his bare skin, her heart pounding with fear. “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

“I’m not okay,” Natalie said, her voice quavering. “I’m the farthest thing from okay.”

Ian pulled back slightly to look at her, putting his hand on her cheek. Natalie placed her hand over his, not wanting him to let go. “Where did it get you?’

She motioned down at her legs and he shifted, keeping his hand under hers. She showed him her hip and then twisted around to reveal the rip in her calf, both of which were seeping blood slowly through the tears in her jeans. He grimaced, moving so he was in front of her on the bed, on his knees. He stretched over her to the box of tissues on the bedside table and switched on the lamp. Natalie leaned back on the pillows and, for just a moment, was struck by how good Ian smelled, the fading cologne she vaguely recognized and the stronger scent of his skin, which she realized was what the leather jacket she wore smelled like too. It reminded her of swimming in lakes on hot summer days, a warm, slightly earthy smell. The feeling of safety and the need to curl up with him and never leave hit her again with almost painful intensity.

At that moment, Ian glanced down at her as he grabbed a couple of tissues, and froze. Heat rushed through her body and Natalie wondered what he saw on her face. Was her desire obvious in her expression? ~

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