Copyright © 2015 Lexxie Couper
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
No way. Jenna’s stride, normally utterly confident, purposeful and commanding, betrayed her. She stumbled, her four-inch Manolo Blahniks scraping over the gritty concrete, her mic slipping from her loosening grip. Reflexes contracted her fingers around the microphone before it could fall to the ground. Her cameraman, Theo Theodopolis, snared her upper arm before she herself could tumble in that direction. “Gotcha, boss,” he muttered, laughter in his voice. She tried to shoot him a grateful smile over her shoulder, tried to show her appreciation for his quick action, but she couldn’t seem to drag her stare from the man in the baseball cap and battered bomber jacket standing near the helicopter. There was no way it could be who she thought it was. No way. For starters, the Evan Alexander she knew five years ago would never hide under a baseball cap. Evan Alexander only ever stood tall and arrogant, smile smugly charming, oozing sexy-as-sin cockiness and surety. That Evan, the one her best friend had married—correction, so-called best friend—had married would never wear his collar up hiding half his face. Evan Alexander knew he was too good-looking to deny the world his countenance. Evan Alexander preened when the world looked at him. Evan Alexander would not, repeat, would not turn his back on a reporter making their way towards him like the man in the bomber jacket was doing now. Which meant the man Wallaby Ridge was hailing a hero couldn’t be Evan Alexander, right? Right? So what’s with the punch-to-the-tummy sensation then, Jenna? The same punch-to-the-tummy sensation you always got every time your eyes connected with Evan’s back when you still hung out with him and Tracey? Drawing in a slow breath, she straightened her spine and continued towards the man so very obviously ignoring her approach. There was no way it could be Evan. No way. It was a freaky trick of light, is all. A snatching glimpse of eyes similar to Evan’s. Hell, what with the way the man was wearing his baseball cap so low over his face, and with the cocked-up bomber jacket collar, she was lucky to have seen his eyes at all, especially in the darkness of the evening. Where were all the streetlights in the Outback? Surely the helipad should have some kind of illumination? How did they see anything out here at night with so little electric light? By the gazillion stars overhead? “Miss.” She flicked the tall man standing beside the one ignoring her a look. He smirked at her, an unreadable expression on his face. Jenna swallowed, casting her gaze over him from eyes to boots and back to eyes again. Charlie Baynard, Wallaby Ridge’s Senior Constable. A ripple of apprehension shot up her back. She’d spoken to him only a few moments ago, trying to track down the hero of Wallaby Ridge. He’d been intimidating then, shielding a small group of firefighters just in from the massive blaze from a frenzied gaggle of print-media reporters desperate to get a story. “Senior Constable.” She licked her lips, her belly tight. Why, she had no idea. There was no reason for it. The man with his back to her wasn’t Evan. She indicated towards that broad back with her head, gripping her mic tighter. “Is this who I’m after?” Charlie Baynard nodded. The shoulders of the man refusing to look at her stiffened. “It is,” Charlie said. “But I don’t think he’s in the mood for talking. And I wouldn’t call him a hero if I were you.” Jenna frowned. “But he is. Everyone is talking about the helicopter pilot who risked his life to save the team on the north line of the fire. Even his own captain says they’d all be dead if he hadn’t…” Huffing into her fringe, she tore her focus from the smirking police officer and reached out to tap on the other man’s shoulder. What was she doing wasting time with Baynard? “Excuse me, I’m Jenna McGrath from Chanel Eight News. I’m wondering if you’d permit me a few moments to talk about what you did out there?” The man half turned his head, enough to grant her a glimpse of what little profile the low baseball cap peak and high collar allowed. “I just did my job,” a deep voice, scratchy and husky from smoke, no doubt, declared. “There’s no story here.” The tension in Jenna’s stomach fluttered. Her throat thickened. In amongst all that scratchy timbre was a voice she recognized, one that had stayed with her long after she and Tracey had parted ways. One that visited her often in her dreams and when her hands took care of the yearning in her body. She stared at the glimpse of a profile. At the downcast eyes refusing to look at her. “Evan?” His name slipped from her lips, doubt and confusion tripping over the syllables. The broad shoulders encased in beaten leather stiffened. She saw his eyes squeeze shut. Saw his head dip a fraction, as if weighed down by a fatal sense of acceptance. And then the man every member of the media here in Wallaby Ridge wanted to talk to turned and faced her fully. Fixed her with eyes as piercing as they’d ever been despite the dark shadow thrown over his face by the peak of his baseball cape, and Jenna forgot how to breathe. “Hi, Jenna.” A lump lodged itself in her throat. Got stuck there, fast and tight. She caught sight of white twisted flesh beneath his left eye, over his cheek. Saw a hint of the same on what little of his jaw and the side of his neck was visible behind the cocked collar of the bomber jacket. Are they…are they scars? The shocked thought ran through her head at the very second she realized just how long she’d been staring.
Burn For You
Series: Outback Skies
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: 88 pages
Published: April 28, 2015
Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill
The fire in the heart is the hardest to fight.
Outback Skies, Book 2
Harsh, rugged and unforgiving, the Australian Outback is the perfect place for Evan Alexander to hide. Up in the air, fighting fires from the cockpit of his helicopter, no one sees the scars that run clear down to his soul.
When a massive fire breaks out in a nearby national park, Wallaby Ridge becomes a media staging ground, and Evan’s daring piloting skills the center of attention. Evan finds it easy to dodge every reporter—except one. A woman from his past.
Jenna McGrath can’t believe the quiet, withdrawn man declared a hero is the same arrogant, cocky pilot she fell in love with six years ago. A cruel betrayal caused Jenna to remove herself from his world, but she’s never been able to erase him from her memories.
Their long-suppressed attraction reignites, but the walls Evan has built around himself are high. And while Jenna easily overlooks the scars on his body, she begins to wonder if molten desire is enough to melt the emotional scars binding his heart.
Product Warnings: It’s not the flames devouring the landscape that will stir your soul…it’s the wounded, broken man fighting them from the air.