Here it is, the first official excerpt from Desire Me, in a bookstore near you this June!
He knew there were other people, besides himself, who sought the lost land. Some searched for treasure, as it was said that Poseidon had built the entire central palace out of gold. Some searched for ancient texts with secrets to medical cures because Atlanteans were rumored to have advancements in all areas of science. Still others sought the fountain of youth or healing waters that were rumored to be flowing through the canals in Atlantis.
Max, though, wanted it all. He wanted to find the actual city. Just as Pompeii had been lost beneath mounds of ash, so he believed Atlantis survived beneath the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. He was not foolish enough to believe it would have remained unscathed. Water erosion certainly would have altered much of the rumored land. But something existed below the surface, and he intended to find it.
He couldn’t resist pursuing the possibility that there was a new clue. Especially not when it came wrapped in the tantalizing package that was Ms. Tobias.
He crept forward to better examine the items on the shelves. Along with dried herbs and oils, he found lanolin and glycerin and all other manner of ingredients. A basket of ribbons sat next to the empty jars.
What was the crème Cassandra had purchased? Some fashion of smoothing crème. And Sabine wanted his map. She too sought treasure, though of a different sort. She was after the fountain of youth, that had to be why she’d come in search of him.
He continued sifting through the shelves, but there were no secret texts or books or anything that would hint at what Sabine might know of the map.
Thus far his search had been futile. He should probably turn and leave. Chances were if Sabine had something to hide, she kept it upstairs in the living quarters and he couldn’t risk sneaking up there. But he’d never been able to walk away from a worthy puzzle, and it would seem that Sabine Tobias might be the most interesting mystery he’d come across in a long while.
He took steps toward the front of the shop. Perhaps there would be something hiding in those cupboards. The floor creaked beneath his weight. He stilled. There was yet another noise.
The doorknob jiggled from behind him. Someone else was trying to get in. Perhaps Miss Tobias returning home late from another game of chance? Quickly Max moved to the other side of the stairwell and hid in the narrow cubby beneath.
The door jerked open, and two men lumbered in. Max could hear a third voice outside the door. Three men, one outside to keep watch. Sabine Tobias' shop was certainly gaining in popularity. What a pity he hadn’t thought to bring along a couple of thugs himself. Max withdrew further into the shadows.
If he hadn't been certain before that Sabine Tobias was hiding something, now it seemed quite evident. From beneath the stairwell, Max couldn't see much of what the men were doing, but he could make out a few words of their hurried whispers. They didn't sound educated, and they didn't seem to know specifically what they were searching for. They'd obviously been hired to break into the shop. In Max’s experience, “employees” of that nature were highly unreliable. They took no personal interest in their assignments and generally proved to be rather unmotivated. Not to mention a bit dim. No doubt their search would not be thorough.
Max settled his back against the wall, prepared to simply wait them out. However, when the stairs above him shifted slightly, Max moved to the edge of the cubby to get a better glimpse. Delicate, pale ankles attached to feminine bare feet crept down the steps.
Bloody hell! Miss Tobias. Did the woman have no sense at all? What was she doing sneaking down to investigate? Surely she did not intend to fight off would-be thieves in nothing more than her nightrail.
He craned his neck, looking for the thugs in the unlit store room. Thank goodness, they were busy rifling through the cupboards. He positioned himself, and once the lady came within reach, he clamped a hand across her mouth and pulled her into his hiding place. Her muffled protests were punctuated by those delicate feet kicking into his shins. He stifled a groan of his own.
He turned her around to face him, careful not to uncover her mouth. Sabine Tobias stared up at him, her eyes wide and angry. He frowned at her, then leaned close to her ear.
"Kick me again, love, and I'll let the wastrels get you," he warned in a whisper.
Like what you've read? Well, you're in luck. One lucky reader will win an autographed advanced reading copy of Desire Me. All you have to do is tell me what Seduce Me is nominated for. (hint the answer is somewhere on my website....)