His to Protect
By: Karen Rock
Releasing October 1, 2016
Subject: Lt. Commander Mark Sampson
Mission: Keep his eyes on the skies…despite one sexy distraction!
There are things a man can never undo. For Coast Guard search and rescue pilot Mark Sampson, it was the agonizing decision that cost him a teammate—and his faith in himself. But an unbelievably sexy blonde on a secluded beach may help him forget…if only for a night.
Cassie Rowe needed a distraction—and, boy, did she get one! How was she to know the brooding stranger who rocked her world was the pilot who'd left her brother to die? And now they're on the same mission. She should hate him. But she can't fight the storm of desire threatening to pull them under…
Then, without warning, the wind blew itself out for a long moment, the warm air seeming to hold its breath. They paused beside an overhang and the rushing ocean nipped at the jagged beach below.
Cassie looked out at the sea. “I want to know what happened to my brother,” she murmured quietly.
“Everything is in the report,” Mark forced himself to say, moved by her words.
Not everything, whispered a voice inside, one he smothered. He wouldn’t listen to it. Relive it. Much too dangerous.
“But I don’t know.” She turned and her anguished eyes met his.
“There’s nothing more I can share,” he said curtly and ignored the scalding regret that flared in his gut when her mouth trembled. Her face was an accusation.
“Of course not,” she said, her voice cracking. “That’s all it is with you guys. Files. Records. Procedures. But what about people?” She jabbed a finger into his chest “What about Jeff?”
“Jeff was a brave man. The best rescue swimmer I ever had the honor to work with.”
They were the truest words he’d ever spoken but not the whole truth. Not even close.
“Yet you left him to die.” Her mouth thinned.
Words slammed against the lump in his throat. Collided with one another, forming a pile that made it hard to breathe.
He couldn’t go any further in this conversation or he’d risk falling back down the black hole that’d kept him out of the cockpit. He’d worked hard to fly again and needed to be in control…in command.
“Your quarters are over there.” He pointed at the bungalows a few yards away and pinned his gaze on a distant spot over her shoulder.
After a moment, she made a strangled noise and stomped away, leaving him alone in the dark.
He watched until she slipped inside her room. Cassie’s desperate words returned to him on the wind.
Yet you left him to die.
He had left Jeff to die.
And he’d never forgive himself. He didn’t deserve anything, but he needed the absolution the rigorous work in the days ahead could give him.
And he’d do everything in his power to make sure none of those days included Cassie.
Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile.
She enjoys returning to her teaching roots when speaking at regional and national writing conferences and interacting with other writers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in English and has continued to learn and grow professionally through her work with YA co-author, fellow romance author, friend and sister-in-law, Joanne Rock.
When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete.
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