Diamonds and Deceit [Kindle Compatible (MOBI)]
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by Amy Talbot
Description: Is the treasure they seek the one they truly want? André Castile makes a fatal mistake that leads to the theft of the Queen of Hearts, a priceless heirloom necklace he values above all else. Driven by revenge, André tracks the Queen of Hearts to the alpine heartland of New Zealand, and to Grace Summerfield. Determined to uncover the past Grace tries so hard to conceal, the search for the Queen of Hearts, and for the truth, propels André and Grace on a deadly journey through the untamed high country. Fear and danger stalks them at every turn. What will they do, how far will they go, which lines will they cross, to find what matters most? What will it ultimately cost them understand what is real, and what is just a shoddy approximation? Excerpt: He lifted the garment bag off the bed and tried the door to the closet; found it locked. There was no key. It was only a minor thing, but tiredness made him irritable. Stifling a flash of annoyance, he looked at her and notched an eyebrow in inquiry. "Is there a way to open this, or is it a quaint local custom around here to toss clothes on the floor, caveman style?" he asked, his smile tight, "Unless, of course, you prefer I break it open?"She took a hurried step forward and tested the lock. "Sometimes the household staff put it on top of the closet, so it doesn't go astray." Suiting her actions to her words, she reached up and felt along the ledge with her fingertips, locating the key. She turned, holding the silver-plated key pinched firmly between finger and thumb, as though it were a rare treasure worth finding. "Here it is.""Thanks." André stepped forward at the self-same time Grace moved closer and they collided, breast to chest. She made a stifled sound that could have meant anything and dropped the key. He reached out to steady them, caught her hand and held it. Odd sensations rippled over him when her breath stirred against his cheek warming his skin. She was so close, he sensed her heat, felt each jerky move she made. The details, down to the delicate perfume that surrounded her, even the unassuming gold stud earrings she wore, etched themselves into his mind. Hot blood pooled in his groin. If he wanted, he could angle his head and taste her neck, trace his mouth across the frantic pulse beating beneath her skin. He didn't know which would be softer, the tantalizing touch of her skin or the feel of her pouty mouth.
eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, 2010 2010
Fictionwise Kindle eBookstore Release Date: August 2010
Available eBook Formats [Kindle Compatible (MOBI) - What's this?]: Kindle Compatible (MOBI) [274 KB]
Reading time: 159-223 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
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A fierce gust of wind caught the glass-fronted door, slamming it hard against the wall. Grace Summerville swung around to see a man step purposefully into her hotel foyer.
It took will power to keep her mouth from gaping.
What was he doing here in the wilds of New Zealand, of all places? Only recently she'd read a feature article in an industry magazine that described him as the modern-day Midas with a billionaire's golden touch. He'd turned the accommodation industry on its collective ear after he'd taken over his family's chain of hotels and upgraded them to luxurious resorts. King International now offered their globetrotting clientele the perfect home-away-from-home, designed to cushion the rigors of first-class travel.
She made a quick study of him as he paused in the entrance to brush rain from his shoulders. The overhead fluorescent lighting picked out strands of gold in his rich brown hair, and emphasized a scar that puckered the corner of his right eyebrow. The minor imperfection gave his face an exotic look. He wasn't particularly tall, probably just shy of six feet, but the broad set of his shoulders indicated considerable strength. In spite of the easy way he carried himself, and the casual black leather jacket he wore open over a ribbed sweater and jeans, a mantle of self-assurance surrounded him; it seized her by the throat, demanding she take notice.
He closed the short distance between them, and his finger on the buzzer was an insistent demand for attention. Grace smoothed her palms down her skirt before she left her cubby-hole office and approached the reception area. "May I help you?"
"I hope so." His smile was brief. "I'd like to rent a cabin, but I don't have a prior reservation. Do you have anything available?"
It was a normal enough request, yet there was something in his tone that nettled her. Andre Castile wasn't an ordinary tourist, and she'd be foolish to believe otherwise. He didn't belong here and that assumption alone rang alarm bells. Besides its modest two-star status, the location of their hotel was a good hour's rough ride along a gravel track. To get here, he'd passed two other hotels, both within an easy stone's throw of Tekapo and far better suited to the needs of a man of his style and means.
When had she become so paranoid?
Grace stopped trying to second-guess his reasons. His motives were his own, surely. She pushed her gold framed glasses higher on her nose. "If you would give me a moment, I'll check to see if we have a vacancy. Mister...?" she asked, pretending ignorance.
"Castile." A decorative pottery dish sat on the corner of the reception counter, filled with a tempting assortment of candy. He fished a piece out, removed the wrapper and popped the sweet into his mouth. Casually flicking the crumpled wrapper back into the bowl, he elaborated, "Andre Castile."
"Our cabins are rather basic. If you'd prefer, I can ring around for you and find a hotel suite--"
"Thanks for the offer, but I'd like to stay right here, with you." He tapped the reception desk, as if establishing a stake. "I'm looking for a challenge. Maybe you have a few ideas?"
His voice was a warm and lazy slide of words that slipped beneath her initial reserve. She laughed. "I don't think you'll find much to challenge you here, apart from fishing and skiing. Unfortunately, the season is closed and the ski fields aren't open yet, so I guess you're out of luck."