In Wild for You (Tropical Heat Series, Book One), Marisol Calderon’s carefree lifestyle comes to a halt when an anonymous stalker begins to terrorize her with increasingly menacing threats. The only bright side to her suddenly dismal situation is Clay Blackthorne, the hot, brooding detective who is lethally strong and resolute in protecting her. 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. Hot romance, suspense and a touch of humor spice up this love story between two opposites who never expected to fall in love. Wild for You is on three Amazon bestseller lists.
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 from later in Chapter One:
Clay’s sunglasses fogged up when he got in the steamy interior of the car, but he smiled wryly at the real reason for misty sunglasses—his recent session with the cute blonde. During the shampoo, his body had reacted instantly to Marisol’s round breasts hovering mere inches from his face. He’d closed his eyes, but all that charm packaged in a petite figure was too tantalizing to ignore, even with his eyes shut.
From the minute he’d set eyes on her, Marisol had bombarded his senses like a warm, bright ray of sunshine. Her lilting Argentine accent was melodious and damn sexy. Clay’s sex stirred at the hot memory of her pulse-pounding little strut and then he stopped cold. Knock it off. Marcos asked you to watch over his kid sister, not seduce her, he reminded himself.
A sexy, but naïve kid sister, he added wryly. Marisol might be good at running her business, but in her personal life, she was naïve. She’d agreed to go out with him too readily, without knowing who he was. Sure, she’d asked a few questions, but for someone getting anonymous flowers and messages from a potential stalker, she was too damned trusting.
Marcos wouldn’t be happy to hear about it, Clay thought as he reached for his iPhone to call him. He glanced at his watch—four hours left before he was to meet her at the salon.
Clay returned to Marisol’s salon that evening and almost mistook the receptionist, Laila, for Marisol as she locked the front door of the salon. There was a striking similarity in their hairstyles and coloring, but the resemblance ended there. When he reached her side, Clay noticed Laila had a fuller figure and was taller than Marisol.
“Where’s Marisol?” he asked.
“Ack!” Laila whirled around with a hand on her heaving chest. “You scared me. You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that,” she said, staring at his feet. “I didn’t even hear you walk up!”
“I wasn’t sneaking up on you. I’m Clay Blackthorne,” he said, smiling so she’d calm down. She was probably skittish because of Marisol’s anonymous messages and gifts.
Laila gave him a small, hesitant smile. “I remember you were here this afternoon.”
“That’s right. Marisol and I made plans for dinner. Is she inside?”
“No. Uhm.” Laila’s brown eyes flickered uneasily. “Marisol left about fifteen minutes ago with a terrible migraine. She said she was going to run an errand before going home to lie down.”
“Did she leave a message for me?” he asked, exasperated by the obvious—Marisol had changed her mind and stood him up.
Laila nodded. “She said she’d take a rain check on dinner with you.”
“All right, I’ll come by tomorrow. Thanks for the message.”
Clay drove directly to Marisol’s apartment, thinking if he hurried, he might intercept her at the door and get some answers. She’d been too lively earlier to suddenly have such a bad headache that she had to go home and lie down. Why had she stood him up? The thought of foul play nagged at him.
He stood outside her apartment and jabbed her doorbell several times. No answer. He folded his arms and leaned his shoulder against the door frame. Twenty minutes later, he heard the elevator doors open and shut and then the sound of high heels tapping on the tile floor, signaling Marisol’s arrival.
When Marisol caught sight of Clay, she turned and headed back to the elevator.
Clay caught up with her in seconds.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, taking a step backwards. She lost her balance and landed smack on her behind on the dry cleaning she’d just picked up. Mortified that she’d probably flashed him a good view of her lace panties, she grasped the hem of her short skirt and yanked it down to cover her thighs.
Clay helped her up. “I work here, remember? Laila told me you canceled because you weren’t feeling well, so I came by to check on you.”
Goose bumps teased her arm where Clay’s warm, steady hand held her. “Laila told you where I live?” she asked incredulously.
“She didn’t have to. I know all the tenants’ names.” Still holding her arm, he gently pulled her closer. “Why did you stand me up tonight?” His low, rough-edged voice made her nerves tingle.
Stepping back from Clay’s unsettling nearness, she winced when pain jabbed her foot. “Ouch. I must’ve twisted my foot when I fell down. My head hurts, too,” she added, so he wouldn’t think she’d made it up. “Didn’t Laila tell you I have a migraine?” She walked to her door, trying not to put pressure on her sore foot.
“That’s what she said, but you don’t look sick to me.” Clay got to the door before she did and waited, with crossed arms and a challenging look in his intense, dark eyes. “What’s going on?”
Marisol sighed. Clay didn’t look like he planned on budging from the door until she gave him some answers. “Well, if you must know, the weirdo called me again after you left. I called the police, but nobody there took me seriously. Apparently, the anonymous caller hasn’t done anything illegal until he threatens bodily harm.”
A muscle ticked in Clay’s jaw. “Unfortunately, it’s true. Even though aggravated stalking is considered a felony in Florida, sending flowers and notes doesn’t constitute a crime unless there’s proof that the person is out to physically harm you.”
“You sound like the detective I talked to,” she muttered. “Anyway, after that depressing bit of information, I regretted accepting your dinner invitation so impulsively.” She paused and studied his impassive face. “I decided to ask the doorman about you first.”
“How did I check out?”
“Pretty good, considering you’re new, but you’ll still have to prove yourself,” she said lightly.
Clay gave a muffled snort.
Marisol smiled. “Actually, Alan raved so much about your qualifications, I couldn’t shut him up.”
“Alan’s a good guy. Aren’t you going to open your door?” he inquired calmly.
Marisol’s hand fumbled inside her handbag. “I need to clean out this purse.” After a few moments rummaging for her keys, she smiled triumphantly. “Here they are!” When she leaned down to pick up her dry cleaning, her left leg almost buckled when she put weight on her foot. “Whoops. I’d better get off these heels.”
“Here, lean on me,” Clay said, picking up her dry cleaning and holding his arm out for her.
“No, thanks. I’ll take that,” she said, taking the plastic bag from him. She waited for him to leave before she unlocked the door.
“You can’t even stand without hurting your foot. Let me help you inside and I’ll order pizza for us.”
Marisol started to say no, but her growling stomach won out. “Okay, but only because Alan vouched for you.” She braced her weight on her uninjured foot and opened the door. “Come in.”
Clay folded the dry cleaning over one arm, and then lifted her in his arms and effortlessly carried her inside.
“Hello? Aren’t you overdoing it a bit? I can walk you know,” she protested, even though the ride in his strong arms made her pulse race. God, he smelled delicious—the heady mixture of evergreen and maleness sent lusty shivers skittering through her. Her face was close to Clay’s lean jaw and she was sorely tempted to run her finger along the groove next to his mouth just to see it deepen into a dimple. What a beautifully sculpted mouth, she thought, perfect for slow, deep kisses…