From their first meeting, hard-edged Detective Clay Blackthorne is blindsided by his instant attraction to lively Marisol Calderon, yet he’s honor bound by a promise to her older brother to protect her without letting her know what he’s up to. Wild for You hit two Amazon Kindle best seller lists during it’s first week of publication. Post a comment – two random winners will receive a free copy!
Blurb: To Love, Honor, and Protect
Detective Clay Blackthorne has his hands full when he promises to safeguard an old college pal’s sister without letting her know what he’s up to. He never imagines that lively Marisol Calderon will knock his socks off and put a ring on his finger—and all at his suggestion! Their marriage of convenience is meant to protect her and Clay doesn’t plan on being hitched for long to the tempting beauty. But the honeymoon sure feels real to him…
Sassy Marisol is used to doing whatever she wants—and right now her plan is to shake up the hot detective’s hard-edged demeanor. But the fun turns to danger when a mystery stalker bent on marrying her marks her as his prey. Temporarily becoming Clay’s wife seems like a practical way to thwart the stalker. But as passion ignites and Marisol falls for the tender heart buried beneath the tough detective’s chest, Clay’s true identity is revealed and she begins to wonder who—if anyone—she can trust…
Excerpt: Chapter One
“For Christ’s sake, Marcos, I’m a detective, not a baby-sitter,” Clay muttered.
“Marisol isn’t a baby, as you’ll soon find out.” Dr. Marcos Calderon looked burdened as he leaned forward on the leather stool in the cool, dim bar. “I wouldn’t be asking you to watch over my little sister if I didn’t think she was in danger.”
Clay took a swig of beer and studied his longtime pal. Marcos’ dark eyes were grim and his normally confident tone sounded weary. Something was off. When Marcos had texted him to meet at the Grove Bar, Clay had thought it was to catch up over a few beers, like old times. He hadn’t seen Marcos since he’d moved from Miami to Naples, Florida.
“Why do you think she’s in danger?” Clay asked.
“She let it slip that she’s been getting weird messages from some anonymous guy. When I pressed for details, she clammed up. I’m sure she doesn’t want me to get involved. She never does.” Marcos let out an exasperated breath. “It was a lot easier to keep an eye on her when I lived here.”
Clay hunched forward and contemplated Marcos’ request. Six years older than his sister, Marcos was fiercely protective of her, especially since she’d moved to the States from Argentina. In the past, Marcos had talked about Marisol, but Clay had never met her.
Clay took another swig of beer and wiped the froth from his upper lip. “Where does she work?”
“She owns the Villabella Beauty Salon in South Beach.”
“I’ve never set foot in a prissy salon, but I’ll stop by. I can ask for a haircut and get her talking.”
“Good idea.” Marcos eyed Clay’s ponytail. His cropped brown hair was much shorter than Clay’s. “Going shorter?”
Clay nodded. “Yeah, I don’t need long hair for undercover now that I’m working homicide.”
“It shouldn’t be too hard to gain her confidence. Marisol is very outgoing and friendly. Flirting comes as naturally to her as breathing. When it comes to men, she’s a magnet,” Marcos said with a wry twist of his lips.
“I’ll keep that in mind.” It sounded like Marcos wanted to warn him off. Why? Clay wondered. He wasn’t interested in going after Marcos’ kid sister.
“Don’t let her playful side fool you. She’s very smart and used to getting her way. And damned stubborn, Gator.” Marcos had begun calling Clay “Gator” when they were roommates in undergrad and he’d learned Clay was a native Floridian.
“Let me get this straight. Your sister is playful, outgoing, a male magnet and damned stubborn. Anything else you want to warn me about?”
Clay’s comment was meant to be flippant, but Marcos looked solemn as he said, “I think that about covers it.” He gave Clay a measured look. “Will you do it?”
“Sure, you can count on me.” Clay watched the tension ease from Marcos’ face as he finished his beer with a satisfied gulp. “You’ve never asked me for a favor, even though I sure owe you one.”
“You don’t owe me anything. I really appreciate it, man,” Marcos said, giving him a hearty clap on the back. “Thanks. Now that I know she’s in good hands, I can get back to my patients.” He paused. “There’s one more thing you should know. Marisol is impulsive and that often lands her in trouble.”
“I’m sure I can handle her,” Clay said in a dry tone.
“Good.” Marcos threw some cash on the counter. “My treat.”
Clay downed his beer and left with him. Marcos seemed overly concerned about Clay getting along with his sister.
How much trouble could one girl be?
* * *
Marisol Calderon studied the strong, lean planes of her client’s face. A tiny shiver teased her spine when she glanced at his intense black eyes, deep set and heavily rimmed by thick black lashes. He was looking at her as if he knew something private about her and it was a bit unsettling.
The guy looked so out of place in her salon it was almost comical. He sat before her with strong arms braced on the armchair wearing snug, faded Levi’s and a black T-shirt that stretched across a hard-muscled chest and shoulders. His body exuded power in a sinewy way, not like a beefed up gym rat. His shoulder-length, pitch black hair was secured in a ponytail and a small scar marked his sharp left cheekbone on tanned skin.
She wondered if he was the guy who’d been bothering her with anonymous messages lately. When he’d entered her salon, Marisol had noticed his guarded stance and dark, watchful eyes. He had asked for her in a smoky voice that snared her attention.
Mentally propelling herself into action, she draped a plastic cape over his broad shoulders and slid the rubber band from his ponytail. She took a wide-toothed comb from her apron and ran it through his thick hair before generously slathering it with her homemade conditioner.
His head whipped around and firm lips parted to reveal strong, white teeth when he asked, “What are you doing?”
“Oh, sorry. I should have warned you it would be cold. I keep the mix in the fridge so it won’t turn brown.”
He went still. “What’s the green slime you’re putting on my head?” he asked, not amused.
Marisol had been thinking how hot he looked with his hair down, when that low, gravelly voice hit her below the knees. Get a grip, silly, he’s watching you, she told herself.
She patted his rigid shoulder. “Hey, chill. It’s my special all-natural conditioner. Your hair looks a little dry,” she lied. In truth, it shined like volcanic glass.
“I asked for a haircut, not a beauty treatment,” he said in a blunt tone.
“Don’t worry. This fabulous conditioner is my special this week. It’s included in the haircut and won’t cost you a penny extra.”
She normally didn’t do hair treatments before getting the client’s consent; she’d done it to keep him there long enough to find out if he was the mystery guy.
“I’m not worried about the cost.” He looked suspicious. “What’s in it? It stinks.”
“Mashed avocado and olive oil,” she said, smiling as she applied more conditioner.
He snorted. “I’d rather eat avocados.”
“Me, too. I love guacamole.” Marisol squelched a giggle at the sight of his tough, rangy body confined in the pink leather chair. Better start asking questions, she thought, he looks ready to bolt.
“Did you say your name was Clay?” she asked, lightly massaging his scalp.
“What do you do for a living?”
“Marisol!” the receptionist at the front desk called out. “Phone call.”
Marisol smiled. “Don’t go away. I’ll be right back.”
Clay’s striking black eyes sent her an uncompromising message. “Hurry back or I’ll wash it out myself.”
Marisol tossed her short tumble of blond-streaked, honey-brown hair and shrugged her shoulders. He heard her mumble something in Spanish about him being impatient as she brushed by, pert backside swaying.
Clay watched Marisol from across the gleaming, art-deco style pink and black room as she chatted on the phone. When a male customer walked in, she hung up and greeted him with a kiss on the cheek before leading him to one of the stylists.
With head-turning curves sheathed in a tangerine mini dress and golden tanned legs perched on high-heeled sandals, there was nothing demure about Marisol as she flitted around the salon. Petite and practically bouncing with energy, Marisol seemed younger than twenty-nine. She had a heart-shaped face with sparkling amber eyes, a tiny cleft in her chin and a rosebud mouth that naturally curved upward giving her a decidedly mischievous air.
That one was going to be a handful.