Beneath a Blazing Sun by J. A. Clarke

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On a buying trip for her interior design firm, Kat Feldman is unprepared for Africa’s rough, exotic wilderness. This is nothing like the civilized streets of Europe and New York. There are monkeys committing mayhem in the trees outside her hotel room, gigantic insects in her bathroom and a man prowling the corridors who is inspiring her body to break all her dating rules.

Jackson Roarke is an avid outdoorsman. Baby-sitting a high maintenance city girl is not his idea of a perk. Except the city girl surprises and captivates him with her determination, adventurous spirit and courage. Poached ivory and Jackson’s past collide to threaten their future, but in this primitive land, Kat discovers new strengths and a love she has only dreamed of, and Jackson learns there are second chances.


Before she could think of all the reasons why she shouldn't, she reached behind and pulled down the zipper of her dress. Ron and Sheila wouldn't recognize this Kat. She didn't recognize this Kat. Her actions were driven by something other than reason, whose voice was silent. The dress slid down over her arms. It felt like a dream. The drums, that rhythmic pounding continued to stir her blood, to send a message she didn't want to resist.

The dress puddled around her feet. She kicked it away and fingered the bra clasp between her breasts. But courage only went so far and the matching set of silk underwear stayed on. She stepped over to the edge of the pool, glanced around one more time, sucked in a breath and jumped.

The coolness against her heated skin was a shock, even though she'd been prepared for it. She surfaced and trod water, her eyes closed. With the raw, primitive beat of the music still saturating the air, the liquid movement across her skin became a sensual caress. She moved her arms and legs in lazy circles, her entire concentration focused on nerve endings that tingled madly.

Some small part of her wished she had removed her underwear. She wanted to be naked. Wanted to subjugate her inhibitions to the message that filled the night. Before the thought had completed itself, her fingers were again at the clasp of her bra.

Water swirled around her. A stronger, more demanding current. More than she could possibly have created herself.

Even as her mind reacted in fear to the knowledge, as it began to question what creature might have stalked her here, or lain concealed in the water, something hard brushed against her leg. At the same time, something just as hard wrapped around her waist.

She shrieked in pure terror, only to have the sound muffled by a large hand pressed against her mouth.

"Kat." The Voice was husky in her ear. "I'm going to take my hand away. Don't scream."

She gave a tiny nod as hot rage erupted inside of her. She didn't know where its fury came from. Couldn't have controlled it even if she wanted to. But Roarke was the perfect target on which to vent the tension that had been building all day and which had escalated with the evening's dance performance.

The pressure on her mouth disappeared. Hands on her waist turned her.

"You bastard." She clenched her hand into a fist and swung it as hard and fast as she could manage at his head. "You scared me."

He caught her hand with insulting ease and pushed it behind her, securing the other one as well. "Kat. Little Katrina," he murmured. His warm breath washed across her ear. "You are such a rebel. You just don't follow the rules, do you?"

Furious, she twisted and squirmed in his grasp. Her unfettered feet kicked at his legs but seemed to do little damage. "I don't know what you're talking about. Let go of me, you--"

She was jerked hard against his body. For an instant, she saw the shadowy outline of his head against the star-lit sky before it swooped down like some giant night predator and her mouth was crushed beneath velvet and steel.

Her blood ignited.

  • Published by: Uncial Press

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