June Releases

ZENITH RISING

by Marilyn Campbell

Maggie Harrison’s temp assignment sounds glamorous. As assistant to bestselling author Noah Nash, she must stay in his penthouse suite at the legendary Davenport Hotel. However, Maggie is more interested in whether Noah will remember her from high school.

Tales of ghosts and paranormal activity enticed Noah to set his next book in the Davenport, but his reason for hiring Maggie is entirely personal. He hopes the old spark can be fanned into a new flame. What happens between them is more like a raging wildfire.

Their passionate reunion takes an even wilder turn as they are suddenly transported to the Roaring Twenties, when the new hotel sparkled like the champagne in the speakeasy…and several murders went unsolved. For Maggie and Noah to return home they must prevent one of those deaths, but first they need to figure out which one.

Available at http://www.jasminejade.com/p-9388-zenith-rising.aspx

For more information about Marilyn Campbell’s books, check out www.marilyncampbell.com.

EXCERPT:

“So you’re saying fate had something to do with my being here today, with you.”

“It’s the only explanation that makes sense. I had an idea for a new book called Hotel Hellgate. One of those ‘you can check in but can’t check out’ stories.” He noted how she wrinkled her nose and laughed. “I take it you’re not a fan.”

“Sorry. It’s not you. It’s the genre.”

He shook his head. “Not a problem. I actually requested an assistant who wasn’t a huge fan. Anyway, after doing a lot of research about haunted hotels, I decided the Davenport had everything I was looking for but I had to wait five months to get a long-term reservation in this suite.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard they stay pretty booked up. Wait. Why this suite?”

“The founder, Robert Davenport, put a bullet through his brain here in 1930. At least that was the official ruling. The family always insisted foul play was involved. But this suite isn’t the only supposedly haunted place. There were a number of other unsolved deaths and disappearances in other parts of the hotel property. Plus there were thousands killed around here during the 1928 hurricane. And for a while during World War II this place was used as a hospital and not all the patients survived. In other words, if ghosts really do hang around, it seems probable this could be a good place to find them.”

“I’ve heard stories but I’m not sure I believe any of them.”

“I have no interest in proving or disproving those stories. I just figured it would make the perfect backdrop for mine. Anyway, when it got close to time for me to come here and get started, my assistant was too far along in her pregnancy to be away from her husband and home. I asked the hotel to send me five résumés to review. When I saw your name…” He remembered feeling his heart leap in his chest and excitement race through his bloodstream. “Well, I checked it out, confirmed you were the Maggie Harrison who helped me pass biology one year and told them to give you the job. If that’s not fate stepping in, I don’t know what else you could call it.”

“Synchronicity?”

He grinned. “Same difference. Point is, we were meant to get together again and I’m really looking forward to working with you. It’ll be like old times.” He was actually hoping it would be nothing like those days but that would have to be up to her.

“Okay, I’m sold. Only, can I ask one favor?”

His eyes widened. “Uh-oh. I seem to remember the last favor was a pretty big one.” That left me with a constant hard-on for an entire school year. “I’ve never been sure we came out even on that one.”

She gave him a little punch to his shoulder. “Smartass. This is a little request. Please don’t ever call me Sugarlips again.”

He grabbed her hand. “Only if you’ll stop punching me.”

“Deal,” she said with a giggle and gave him a quick peck on the mouth. Instantly she jerked away, looking more shocked than he felt. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t…it just seemed…”

He leaned toward her, stopping an inch from her mouth and waited for her to retreat farther but she didn’t move. He could feel her breath exiting in tiny puffs from her parted lips. He lightly touched his lips to hers, giving her a chance to object but instead she sighed into his mouth. It was all the encouragement he needed. His mouth slanted over hers, urging her lips apart so he could taste the sweetness he remembered.

Her arms snaked around his neck and he pulled her into a full embrace, the way he had only once before but thought of countless times. His fingers traced the line of her neck and down her arm. She was all silk and heat, melting in his hands. She was no longer the pretty high school girl. She was one hundred percent woman now. But she was still Maggie.

He stroked her tongue with his and she sucked him deeper as she repositioned herself to be cradled in his arms. Her hands suddenly seemed to be all over him at once as though she didn’t know where she wanted to touch. He had wanted her as a horny teen. But that was nothing compared to the inferno of need she was raising in the man. His erection strained against his jeans and when her fingers brushed over it, he thought he would explode right then. He needed her to release the beast, hold it in her soft hands and take it into her body. But he also needed it to be her desire. His hand cupped her breast and found the puckered nipple. What more did he need?

Abruptly her hand covered his and held it still as her whole body stiffened. “Wait. This is crazy. Noah, please…”

It took a moment for his body to catch up with her words. It took several more seconds for him to take his hand off her breast and take a deep breath. “Do I need to apologize?” he asked quietly.

She closed her eyes and shook her head. “Absolutely not. That was my fault. I broke our rule.” As gracefully as she could, she eased away and returned to her own space on the couch without looking at him.

He gave her chin a gentle nudge with his crooked index finger. “Hey. C’mon, Sugarlips. Talk to me. Tell me it’s too fast. Or you’re committed elsewhere. Or even you never mix business and pleasure. But don’t try to convince me you weren’t caught up in that as much as I was. And by the way, the ‘no kissing’ rule was never a good one.”

She slowly raised her eyelids. “Okay. It’s way too fast. Mixing business with pleasure is a really bad idea. And the rule was a good one. It was necessary. And considering what just happened, it still is. I’m very happy to see you again but I’m here to do a job, not…”

He waited for her to finish saying what she was not here to do but she just left it hanging. Meanwhile he was hanging on the fact she did not say she was committed elsewhere. He had thought the memory of the pain she had caused him would be enough to stave off any lingering desire but apparently neither memories nor time could keep him from banging his head against the same old brick wall. “You’re right. It was all your fault.” He winked at her and got a raised fist warning in return. “You were also right about having a job to do. I was thinking we could go over what I expect from you and some of my work habits first.”

Her demeanor changed from friend to professional in an instant. “Perfect. I’ll just get my notebook.”

As she headed for her room he said, “Let’s talk over dinner. Would you prefer the restaurant or room service?”

She glanced back over her shoulder and arched one brow at him. “I think leaving this room for a few hours would be the wiser option. Then we can come back here and pretend the last fifteen minutes never happened.”

“Swell,” he mumbled to himself. “We’re back to pretending.”

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