Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: November 12, 2018
Phoebe watched Bert’s handsome face melt from an all business expression, into one of concern and almost palpable fear. Whatever the call was about, whoever it was from, it was bad news. And he didn’t rattle easily, she could tell, and not just from her conversation with him. When they shook hands, the power and depth of the psychic link shook her. An empath, she experienced his most emotionally laden memories in a gut-wrenching burst. She’d almost doubled over in pain when they hit her.
It began as a normal day in his life as an Army Judge Advocate General, or JAG. His commanding officer, or CO, had asked him to come with him to an offsite interrogation to serve as legal counsel. A detainee suspected of masterminding the murder of a sheikh who had been friendly to U.S. troops was being held by the Iraqi in a remote area in the foothills. When they arrived at the outskirts of the village—just a few houses, really—Bert told his CO the place looked deserted. No kids playing in the square, no women drawing water from the ancient well, not even a goat— the national animal of Iraq—chewing its cud at the end of a tether. He opened the door of the armored vehicle, set one foot on the ground—and the world exploded in a flash of light, scorching heat—and pain. In the distance he heard screaming, realized it was him, and passed out. He woke up in a helicopter. Dazed, vision blurred, he looked down. Where his legs should have been, were shredded pants—and two bloody stumps. He lost consciousness and woke up in a field hospital, surrounded by moaning men.
Sucker punched, she marveled how this man was still alive, much less psychologically intact. Just as she began to jerk out of his firm grasp to escape the anguish of his memories, a sense of peace rolled over her. She glanced at his hand and instead of fingers, the tip of a wing appeared, and she trembled at the soft brush of feathers. The vision disappeared, leaving her shaken— and intrigued. Although she’d had many empathic experiences before and used her talent to do her own background checks on people, not once had she come away with such a sense of intimacy—and a bone-jarring attraction. The combination of the vision of his war injuries, the images of feathers, and the soft caresses on her hand shook her to the core, leaving her mind—and her body in a state of confusion. She struggled to regain control of her senses, and prayed her expression didn’t betray her.
Bert set his smart phone on the desk. “I have to leave immediately,” he signed. “I have an emergency. I’m sorry, your report will have to wait.”
Phoebe glanced at Jean. “Don’t you have an assistant who can do it for you?”
“No one has this information but me. The lives of my agents depend on keeping their secrets. They are all over the country—and the world.” He rolled his wheelchair from behind the desk. “Now, if you’ll please excuse me.” He nodded at the door. “I must go. Now.”
Was he hiding something? She dared not use her empathic conduit into his mind. A physical connection, another skin-to-skin contact at this point in the conversation would be completely inappropriate, not to mention dangerous to her composure.
Blocking his exit, Phoebe signed, “Why are you running away from me?”
“It’s personal.” He frowned. “Don’t you have Under Secretary duties to attend to?”
“What’s more important than your job?” The moment the words flew off her fingers, she regretted her harsh tone. On the other hand, she was his boss, and he worked for Homeland Security. Weren’t these people supposed to put their country before their personal lives?
Something cold glinted in his obsidian eyes. Internally she shrank from his glare. She’d gone too far. Externally she shifted her stance and lifted her chin as if daring him to strike back.
About Sharon Buchbinder
2. First 2 eBooks in the Hotel LaBelle series: The Haunting of Hotel LaBelle and Legacy of Evil
5. Drink Cozies
6. Romance Trading Cards