Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date of Publication:
Number of pages: 280
Cover Artist: Kerrie Robertson
From award-winning author Susannah Sandlin comes the second book in The Collectors series.
How far will ordinary people go to protect their secrets? The Collectors’ games are as much about manipulating lives as finding lost treasure. Everyone is expendable as the ruthless C7 pushes people into gambling with their lives in order to find priceless objects lost to history.
Samantha Crowe's secrets could ruin her career, while Brody Parker's could get him killed. They become pawns for two Collectors seeking Bad King John's crown jewels, which disappeared in rural England back when Robin Hood roamed Nottingham.
This time, however, the Collectors--a ruthless dotcom billionaire and a desperate London detective--might not be playing for the same team, leaving Sam and Brody trapped in the middle.
One thing's for sure: If either hope to survive, Sam and Brody will have to find a way to overcome their distrust--and their growing attraction--in order to succeed on this winner-take-all treasure hunt.
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Samantha hadn’t intended to watch Brody Parker take a shower, only to peek in the window to see if he was in the bathroom so he could let her in the house.
But damn, that man was sexy. He was facing her, his head thrown back and eyes closed as the water cascaded over every ridge and muscle and . . . everything. She had to look, right? She might have taken a vow of celibacy but she hadn’t taken a vow of blindness.
You’re an absolutely pathetic loser, Sam’s inner nag said, and she agreed. Anyone who’d stand in the middle of a monsoon and ogle a man in his shower should have LOSER stamped on her forehead.
As soon as Brody stepped out of the water and saw her, his mouth and eyes battling for which could open the widest in shock, she stepped away from the window and splashed her way around the corner, returning to the back door. And yeah, giggled a little, the laughter bubbling up and spilling out before she could get it under control. She hadn’t laughed much in the last couple of days.
She’d never been quite so wet and cold in her life. The wind had picked up, stabbing horizontal blades of rain into her face as she waited at the back door. For a few seconds, she wondered if he might leave her out here, but then the door opened and he stood there with a white towel slung loosely around his hips, which would have been sexy as hell except for the black T-shirt he’d pulled on. Droplets of water dripped from his black wavy hair onto his shoulders, getting said T-shirt wet.
“Nice fashion statement.” She gave him her best lopsided smile as he moved aside to let her in. “You’re shy about going without a shirt? You have man boobs, don’t you?” Which would be a crime against nature.
“I certainly do not.” Looking offended, Brody pulled the T-shirt up, exposing a rock-hard set of damp abs and nice, firm pecs without a trace of man boob. He jerked the shirt back down before she started salivating, which was good, given her celibacy and all.
“Why were you leering in my bathroom window?” He cocked his head. “Are you stalking me? How long had you been watching?”
Not nearly long enough. “Just a few seconds. I knocked on the door earlier and you didn’t answer.”
He glanced out the door, where the rain almost obscured the garage. “Where’s your car?”
“Ah, that’s the real story. Do you have a fire lit?”
Brody closed the door, shutting out the hiss of rain hitting the slate courtyard. “Not yet. I was going to do it as soon as I showered. Give me a minute to get dressed.” He made no attempt to leave, though, but instead treated her to a head-to-toe visual inspection that she could swear grew a little heated when his gaze landed on where her soaked, thin sweater clung to her breasts.
Her nipples perked up just to make sure he could see them, the traitors. They didn’t want her to be celibate. They wanted to be touched and licked and nibbled on, even if the attention came at the lips and tongue and teeth of the man who’d deliberately punctured her tire.
MRP would like to extend a very warm welcome to Susannah Sandlin, author of Deadly, Calm and Cold.
Welcome to Swineshead?
It’s always dicey when an author ventures beyond her own world and into another. But the plot of my newest book, DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD, involves a search for the British crown jewels lost by “bad” King John back in the early thirteenth century, which meant I had to take my characters outside the confines of the southeastern U.S. unless I wanted to put King John in a time-travel story. Not.
No, if my hero and heroine, Brody and Samantha, were going to search for treasure—even under duress—they had to do it somewhere in the part of England known as the East Midlands. Specifically, they needed to be somewhere in Lincolnshire.
Since historians generally agree that the crown jewels were lost in quicksand in an area that has since become solid ground, I needed to find a plausible other place for the jewels to be found. Plausible enough for my somewhat nerdy grad student Samantha to be able to develop her own theory about where they were.
I finally settled on a small village of 2,500 or so people. Swineshead isn’t a sexy name, although the town looks charming in the research I was able to do on it. There’s a high street. There were some properties for sale in the area—including this charming seventeenth-century ivy-covered cottage—that I could “buy” for my characters. It’s in the middle of a rural area just to the west of Nottingham and Sherwood Forest, and of course King John was the bad old king that Robin Hood so despised. So it was perfect.
In 1216, when King John lost his crown jewels on the same day he spent an evening at Swineshead, there was a large Cistercian abbey located outside the village. At the time, Swineshead was near enough to the North Sea that at high tide during the rainy season, the water would rise up to the doors of the high street shops. These days, the town is quite far inland.
Unfortunately, the old abbey was torn down and its parts used to build other structures in the area, so there were no ruins for Brody and Samantha to explore. The site of the abbey is now private property, and I didn’t think it was very practical for them to be digging up someone’s lawn, so I had to expand my research to some of the countryside around Swineshead.
Turns out, it’s an interesting area whose county seat, Lincoln, dates back to the first century. The Romans came to town. The Vikings traded here. These days, there are a lot of sheep.
Also nearby is the port town of Boston. There was a famous American city named after its much older English counterpart when it was settled by emigrants from Boston, Lincolnshire. It’s in Massachusetts; you’ve probably heard of it! (Who knew? Not me!)
So welcome to the town of Swineshead, England. There’s no real Grainery restaurant and inn, but there’s a terrific-sounding place called The Wheatsheaf that I swear I will get to one of these days!
Thank you so much for joining us today, Susannah. We really enjoyed the visit. Good luck and great sales with Deadly, Calm and Cold.
About the Author:
Susannah Sandlin writes paranormal romance and romantic thrillers from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual.
She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the award-winning Penton Legacy paranormal romance series, a spinoff novel, Storm Force, a standalone novelette, Chenoire, and a new romantic thriller series, The Collectors, beginning with Lovely, Dark, and Deep.
Writing as Suzanne Johnson, she also is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series.
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