Saturday, July 10, 2010

Farewell to Lisa Marie Rice

Sadly this is Lisa Marie Rice’s last day with us but I hope she’ll be back to visit soon! In the meantime, in a little less than three weeks, Into the Crossfire will release from Avon Red and it sounds smoking hot! She’s offered us a sneak peek into the beginning of this story so check it out! (I apologize in advance if the formatting for the excerpt is off)

Into the Crossfire
blurb:



Former Navy SEAL Sam Reston keeps to himself. His world is dangerous, uncertain, violent...and there is no room in it for the helpless and weak. Then the most beautiful woman in the world moves in next door to him . . . .


Nicole Pearce's life is complicated enough—with an ailing father and a new business to worry about—and the last thing she needs is to get involved with a secretive, hard-bodied, hardheaded neighbor. Yet Sam leaves her breathless—her body tingling with erotic desire—and it takes every ounce of her fabled control to resist offering herself to him, no strings attached. What she doesn't know is that Sam Reston is on an undercover assignment . . . and she's about to step into the crossfire.


Never has Sam ached for a woman so badly, and he's never fallen in love before. Now that Nicole is in grave danger, he will become her shield, and guard the tempting body he longs to touch and taste. Because a terrorist plot hatched half a world away is heading to their doorstep—and it can only be derailed by one man and one woman.



Into the Crossfire

CHAPTER ONE

San Diego

June 28

Well, well. Look at that.

Sam Reston leaned his shoulder against the wall of the hallway of his office building and simply drank in his fill.

There she was.

His own personal wet dream, standing there in the hallway between his office and hers, desperately scrabbling through a huge, expensive-looking purse.

Everything about her was expensive, classy. Top of the line. Real high maintenance, too. The kind of woman he stepped right around without a second thought because he didn’t have the time or the inclination, but shit, with her he’d make an exception.

Any man would.

Nicole Pearce. The most beautiful woman in the world. Certainly the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, hands down.

He remembered every second of the moment he’d first laid eyes on her. Two weeks, three days and thirty minutes ago. But who was counting?

He’d been undercover, infiltrating a gang of smugglers and thieves working the docks. His client, a big shipping company, had found it impossible to get a handle on the losses incurred during transhipment at the docks, which last year had totalled almost ten million dollars.

The police had gotten nowhere and the company suspected that someone somewhere was being bought off. Sam hoped it wasn’t in the police department. His brother Mike was a SWAT officer with the San Diego PD and incredibly proud of it.

Someone had definitely dropped the ball, though. So the shipowner had decided to go private.

Smart move.

For a hell of a lot of money, Sam had gone undercover, working the night shift as a stevedore, spreading word around that he wasn’t averse to some under the table money. He’d been contacted, quickly made his way up the hierarchy of the Bucinski gang and had finally risen to the point where they included him on two major hauls. He’d been wired to the teeth and had about a hundred photographs nailing gang members, their scumbag boss, and three corrupt Port Authority employees.

The fuckheads had not just been stealing cargo, they were involved in sex trafficking, bringing in kidnapped young girls hidden in the holds of legitimate ships, the owners of the ships entirely unaware of their human cargo.

The whole gang was going down. The shitheads deserved the needle but wouldn’t get it. They would, however, spend the next twenty to thirty being some gangbanger’s newest girlfriend, which might even be better.

So Sam had looked like a scumbag the day he first saw her. Being a scumbag had been his job for the previous two weeks.

When San Reston did something, he did it well.

Going undercover wasn’t like in the movies. You ate, dressed, acted and even smelled the part. While undercover, he rarely washed or shaved and wore the same clothes for weeks at a time. He knew he smelled ripe and looked dangerous. Well, hell. He was dangerous, he was murderous with rage at the thought of fuckheads willing to rape little girls spending even one day out of jail.

He’d been up 36 hours straight and was just coming into the office after another all-nighter to shower, change and grab a few zzzs on his very comfortable office couch when he’d seen her.

Actually, he smelled her before he saw her. The elevator pinged, the doors opened and some floral…thing that travelled into men’s heads through the nasal passageways and fucked with their brains reached out and walloped him.

He saw her a second later and froze. Simply froze. Later, when he’d untangled his head from his ass, he’d been amazed. SEAL training beats surprise right out of a man. You have to have good, solid nerves just to think of trying out for BUD/S. If you were the easily surprised type you were weeded out fast. Then they took that temperament and forged it into steel.

Nothing took him by surprise, ever.

Except one Nicole Pearce.

Sam had known that the tiny studio office across the hall had been rented out. The building’s manager had told him. To a translation agency—though Sam had no fucking idea what that could be—run by one Nicole Pearce.

He hadn’t thought more about it.

That particular morning he was more exhausted, filthy and pissed than usual. He smelled, too, of sweat and beer. He was in a shitty mood, ready to cut the job short simply to get the top guys into the slammer fast. But he knew better. With the evidence he was getting, the entire operation would go down and that was worth a few extra days or weeks living with slime.

A second after that amazing, womanly smell chock full of pheromones went straight to his dick, he saw her, and his entire body seized up. He was unable to move, unable to breathe, for a second or two.

Midnight-black, glossy, shoulder-length hair, enormous, uptilted eyes the exact color of the cobalt glass sculpture he’d turned down as too expensive for his office, eyes with lashes so long and thick they could stir up a breeze, slightly overlarge mouth with that Angelina Jolie dent in the bottom lip, perfect straight little nose, creamy skin.

Fuck-me shoes.

Incredible hourglass figure poured into a demure blue suit that exactly matched the color of her eyes and hugged curves guaranteed to make any male within a one-mile radius salivate.

She sure had the two moving guys salivating, as she directed them carrying in a heavy teak desk and a tiny antique sofa. They were doing her bidding like two puppy dogs hoping for a bone.

She turned to look at him directly at the ping of the elevator and Christ, all he could do was stare at the dazzler with the deep blue eyes.

Eyes that watched him warily.

Sam was exhausted, but a man would have to be dead not to have all his hormones wake up at the sight of the most beautiful woman on earth. And, Christ, his hormones weren’t the only thing to wake up.

Instant boner, right there in the upscale hallway of the very expensive building he’d chosen as headquarters.

Shit.

Thank God he had on his tightest jeans because she was already looking alarmed at the sight of him. Who could blame her? He’d put a lot of care into looking like a scumbag, walking like a scumbag, thinking like a scumbag, hell even smelling like one.

And he was enraged down to the bone at the sex trafficking he’d discovered. That was something that was hard to switch off.

A woman like this would have antenna way out there where men were concerned. She’d be able to read men like other women read fashion magazines. It was a fact of her life. She was stunning, with the kind of looks that would carry her through from childhood to old age as a beauty. So she’d grown up with the background buzz of hot male attention and she’d have learned to filter out the bad ones, the dangerous ones pretty quick.

He wasn’t bad but he was dangerous and he carried that with him, like a shroud. He’d had a brutal childhood and had learned street fighting before he could read. By adulthood, he was really good with his fists, with a knife, hell—with a rock. Uncle Sam had taken what he was by nature, refined it, armed him up and spent over a million dollars turning him into a killing machine.

He’d made his living as a soldier leading hard men, and now as a civilian he made his living being tougher than most.

He’d come straight into the office after working the night shift on the docks, then sharing a beer with the man who’d recruited him for Bucinski, Kyle Connelly. Sam had nursed one beer to Connelly’s ten, and laughed while the pusbag told him about the perks of the job. Extra money, all the drugs you could snort or shoot up and sex. Sam had had to listen while Connelly had bragged about handcuffing a twelve year old Vietnamese girl to a steel post and raping her. Sam had even had to commiserate with the fucker, whining because he’d been sore afterwards after popping the girl’s cherry.

Listening to this, laughing, slapping him on the back in sympathy, had been one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do in his hard life. His hands had literally itched to draw out the garrotte wire in his belt and rip the fucker’s head right off.

So he’d been fighting mad when the doors had opened and whoa. The world’s most beautiful woman, right there in front of him.

He’d actually had to rub his eyes, sure that what was right before him had to be some kind of vision, maybe some kind of compensation for the horrible night.

Her eyes had widened when she’d seen him. He knew what she was seeing—a very large, very strong, hugely pissed-off, angry man, dressed like a bum and smelling like one, too.

Well, he couldn’t shave, wash and change his clothes right then and there and there was nothing he could do to kill those deadly pissed-off vibes so he’d merely walked down the corridor and entered his office.

Her huge, cobalt-blue eyes had followed him warily every step of the way. She’d actually stepped back as he approached, which pissed him off even more. Goddamn it, the last thing he’d ever do was hurt a woman.

Though, in fairness, she couldn’t possibly know that. Probably every cell in her single urban female’s body was screaming danger. He knew she was single because though he saw she had some fancy rings on those pretty hands, none of them were on her left hand ring finger.

She absolutely had to be single because Sam couldn’t even remotely imagine a man married or even engaged to a looker like that who wouldn’t put a rock the size of her head on her finger, to warn other men off her. And what husband or fiancé wouldn’t be around to help his woman move into her new office?

She couldn’t know that his rage wasn’t in any way directed at her, of course, but at the system. He wanted to nail the gang right now and send them all into the slammer five minutes later.

But what you want and what you can have are very different things. No one knew that more than him. So he’d had to stay undercover, sick at heart, wondering if some other little girls were being raped while he put together enough evidence to put the fuckers away. And to do that he had to stay in Scumland for another couple of weeks.

So every time Nicole Pearce saw him, he’d been tired and grim and dirty, inside and out. Dealing with the scum of the earth was filthy work.

He knew that while he was on this mission, there was no room for anything else, certainly not something as beautiful as Nicole Pearce, so he’d waited

But all that was now behind him and life had just handed him a big fat present all wrapped up in a fancy bow, to thank him for his patience.

Nicole Pearce, outside her office, looking as beautiful as ever, even with a ferocious scowl on her face, rifling through her bag and jacket pockets, looking for her keys.

The keys to the flimsiest piece-of-shit lock he’d ever seen. When he’d signed the lease on his office, he’d been happy with the space and the location and—though he ordinarily didn’t give a shit about his surroundings—the classiness of the building. It was the kind of building that made clients relax, which was crazy to him. What the fuck difference did mellow earth tones and fancy designer junk make?

But to most people it made a difference. A big one. He’d noticed that. Noticed tense clients start unwinding after entering the building with its liveried doorman, elegant brass and teak fittings, slate floors, expensive floral arrangements scattered around.

The building supervisor had given him the name of some office designer who’d come in, taken measurements of the huge space he’d rented and come back a week later and outfitted the offices so they looked like space ships. Designer space ships. It all cost a fortune but it was worth it, to see his clients’ faces as they walked in.

Anyone who came to Reston Security by definition needed relaxing, and it was good that his office did the trick because Sam wasn’t good at putting people at ease. He had no charm and no small talk in him.

When Sam came across a problem, he wanted it solved yesterday. He became an arrow shooting straight at a solution.

That attitude had worked real well for him in the Teams, where problems and possible solutions were clearly stated and no one’s goddamned feelings ever came into anything.

Civilian life had been a real bitch, as Sam found himself tussling with clients who were afraid to say what they wanted, who kept intel from him, who had hidden agendas. Christ.

So the upscale, soothing premises had come in real handy.

Not to mention Nicole Pearce, right across the hallway from him, right now scrabbling for keys that weren’t there.

Well, he could do something about that. For a price.

“Need some help?” he asked, and suppressed a smile when she nearly jumped right out of that gorgeous skin of hers.



Whew! Only three more weeks until I can read the rest of this story! Thanks again to Lisa for hanging out with us the past few days and answering our questions! If you’d like to learn more about Ms. Rice, she has an author page at Harper Collins and one at Ellora’s Cave.


Don’t forget, tomorrow I’m listing the three random winners from the blog comments so you still have time to enter. Today's giveaway is Dangerous Secrets! See you guys tomorrow!

14 comments:

Katie Reus said...

I love this excerpt! So glad I only have to wait a couple weeks to get this book :)

Thanks again to Lisa for hanging out the past few days!

Mary G said...

Hi Lisa
Nice to know that this is another book of yours that will grab me from page one. LOVE your writng.
Thanks for coming by so we can tell you how much you're appreciated. See you here in August.

Katie, thanks for hosting the elusive Lisa. it was awesome.

Adele Dubois said...

I love your writing, Lisa Marie! I read your work a few years ago and became a fan. Glad to see you're doing so well.

Best--Adele Dubois

Kaylea Cross said...

Hi Lisa and Katie. Great excerpt, so thanks for whetting my appetite :)

Hope you're enjoying your travels in France!

Wynter Daniels said...

Wow - love that excerpt. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on that book!

Armenia said...

Wow, Lisa, that was a tantalizing first chapter. Sam Reston's character screams Alpha just dripping with hot sweaty male pheromones! I can't wait to read the rest. Congrats on your upcoming release.

Thanks for coming out to the island.

Blanche said...

Awesome excerpt!! I can't wait to read the entire story!!! :) This has been a great few days with Lisa!!

Jane said...

Thanks for the excerpt and congrats to Lisa on the upcoming release.

Katie Reus said...

THIS IS FROM LISA:

Hello all-- as Katie said, I'm in France with a very patchy wifi connection so sorry if I haven’t been as responsive as I wanted to be.

Since I'm in France, I Googled my books (one coming out in August) and found a French romance book fan forum (Lesromantiques) and saw my name and in the few intervals in which I was connected, said hello to them. It's a really fun bunch of readers, very enthusiastic -- it's wonderful to know our passions transcend boundaries.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the Protectors Trilogy. Into the Crossfire is the first, and just finished the edits on the second, Hotter Than Wildfire. The trilogy features three men who grew up together in a brutal foster home and are closer than brothers. Each went into the military as quickly as possible. Sam into the Navy and then SEALs, Harry into the Army and then Delta, and Mike into the Marines. They now run a security company, but they also run an underground railroad for abused women and children. they saw a lot of abuse growing up and vowed to do something about it. So they charge more than top dollar to their corporate clients and then quietly use part of that money to give women on the run a new life.

I hope you enjoy the series!!
and thanks so much to Katie!! all best, Lisa Marie

jeanette8042 said...

Loved reading Ch 1 and I can't wait to read more!

Chelsea B. said...

Ohh! Thanks SO MUCH for giving us that little peak ;-)
Its been nice chatting with you, Lisa!

cories said...

Great excerpt! Thanks! I'm glad the book will be out soon.

Katiebabs/ KB said...

I need this book, oh so badly.

Anonymous said...

hot hot excpert
congrats
great hot cover too
cant wiat
enjoy france
kh

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