We're checking out the first introduction between two characters in Dakota Skye's paranormal erotic romance, Blurred Lines…what would you do if your lover returned as ghost and you suddenly found yourself in a complicated love triangle?
Letting go is like a death. Sierra never thought she would be caught in a love triangle between her writing partner, Alex, and the love of her life, Shane—especially because her ex-fiancé is now a ghost. Tormented with both guilt for moving on with someone else and a desire to be free to live her life, she's pulled between both men. Shane struggles with accepting his death and seeing the woman he loves with someone else. Alex is determined to free Sierra from limbo and change their relationship from casual to serious, but the bond she has with Shane transcends death. One of the three needs to let go.
Only the good die young. When Shane Weston is murdered before prosecuting a key member of the Mexican drug cartel, he can't accept the idea that all of the plans he had had for his life will never come true. More than that, he can't let go of the love he has for his fiancée.
Love never dies. Sierra Daniels is crushed after Shane's death. Head writer on a successful television series, she can't get back into the groove of life. All enthusiasm for work is gone. Ready to quit everything, she travels to her cabin in Lake Tahoe in hopes of escaping everyone's expectations and disappearing for awhile.
The lines between right and wrong often blur. Alexander Blaine has risked his future on a career change from DEA agent to lead consultant and writer on hit television series. Sierra's grief has shadowed everyone around her, including him, and jeopardizes both of their careers. Unwilling to accept defeat, he follows her to Lake Tahoe determined to break through the barrier enveloping her and make her see that life is still worth living.
Excerpt of first encounter between Alex and Sierra when he shows up unexpectedly at the cabin where she'd gone to escape the world.
Screw Sierra Daniels and her diva attitude. They needed to rewrite more than a scene, they needed to fix this entire script or they would be out on their asses before the season finale aired. What didn't she understand about that? For a so-called professional, she acted like an amateur hell bent on self-sabotage.
Alexander Blaine squinted through the blinding snow and cursed his fate. When he'd decided to retire from law enforcement to write for a living, he'd envisioned a life far more glamorous than eating take-out in front of his laptop every night. At first, he'd been excited at the opportunity to work alongside one of the most talented writers in television, but enthusiasm soon gave way to disappointment because of the defensive, moody woman he had spent six out of seven nights a week with for the past year.
It only seemed right that his pursuit of her had been met with a freak spring snowstorm. He hated snow, avoided it at all costs. Lake Tahoe had been beautiful as he'd passed it, that he couldn't deny. The blue surrounded by peaks of white had been breathtaking at sunset, but now that he stomped up the road in blinding snow, he seriously hated the mountains.
His rental car had gone off the road about a mile back, but the navigator on his cell phone assured him he neared the cabin. He adjusted his bag across his back and glanced at the screen. Yep, almost there...unless he managed to freeze to death in the remaining fifty feet.
Snow came down harder than he'd ever seen. He'd grown up in Arizona, had spent a decade working as an agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency in Central America, and, although he'd taken a few ski vacations, storms like these were foreign to him.
The glow of the cabin windows coupled with the smoke curling from the chimney looked like heaven shimmering through the darkness. He slipped the phone into his pocket, locked his gaze on the light, and forced one foot in front of the other.
He couldn't get fired, not from his first major job in a new career. Unlike her, he didn't have Emmy's and an Oscar nomination on his resume. And, for reasons he never spoke about, he couldn't return to law enforcement either. He needed her, even if she was the most difficult woman on earth, and he intended to get through to her one way or another.
After what felt like eternity, he stumbled onto the front porch and knocked on the door. His hand ached with the force of the blows. He banged again, harder, and winced at the pain shooting through his knuckles.
She opened it with a flourish and a muttered curse. Standing in a flood of light with her long blonde hair a mess around her shoulders, sweater on inside out, face flushed, and blue eyes sleepy, she looked like a woman who'd been well fucked. Recently.
He wondered if maybe she wasn't alone.
"What are you doing here?" She propped her hand against the doorframe, effectively blocking his view of the interior.
"Freezing to death. Let me in." He pushed his way inside and looked around. He didn't see anyone, not that he cared about intruding when his jeans were frozen to his skin.
She slammed the door closed before taking in his appearance. "What were you doing walking around in a snow storm?"
"The weather is so n-n-nice I thought I'd take a s-s-stroll." He shook so badly he couldn't remove the gloves that seemed adhered to his skin.
"Damn it, Alex, let me do it." She pulled at his hands and shook her head. "Leave it to you to fuck up my getaway. Do you know they're predicting several feet of snow? You're stuck here."
"It's always about you." He forced the words from between numb lips. "In case you didn't n-n-notice, I'm a human icicle."
With a muttered curse, she grabbed for his bag and pulled at his hands. "Take off all of your clothes. I have a blanket there, wrap yourself in it, and sit by the fire. I'll get you something warm to drink."
"Always so damn b-b-bossy." Teeth chattering, he couldn't argue anymore. He welcomed her assistance at ripping his clothes off, making a mental note that he'd fantasized about that very thing too many times to count despite her aloof attitude.
Her eyes widened at the sight of the scars crisscrossing his chest, but she quickly averted her gaze. He grabbed the blanket and turned his back. Despite being nearly frozen to death, he still hated the shock that had transformed her face at the brutal sight of the scars and burns marring his naked chest. They had screwed each other blind once about six months ago, but it had been in the back of a limousine and neither had been completely naked—or coherent for that matter. It had been more of a push-this-here-and-move-that-there-stick-it-in-and-screw-me-blind kind of moment.
"I can take it from here," he muttered, hating that he felt so vulnerable when he'd come here to raise some hell.
"I'll put everything in the dryer." She gathered his discarded clothes before stomping away.
Naked, he wrapped the faux fur blanket around himself and scooted as close to the fire as he dared. The last thing he needed was to burst into flames in her living room. She'd probably sue him if he lived or go after his family if he didn't.
When she returned with a steaming cup of apple cider, he took it without comment.
"You followed me to Lake Tahoe," she said while looking at him as a scientist would study a specimen. "Please tell me you're staying somewhere else."
"I'm fine, thanks for your concern. I think all of my limbs will survive." He sipped the cider and slid her a glance over the rim of the cup.
"You don't have another place to stay, do you?" She crossed her arms over her chest and glanced at his bag.
That's when he noticed she wasn't wearing a bra. The sweater accentuated her breasts in sensuous and intoxicating ways. He slid his gaze down to her jeans before resting on her bare feet. Damn, she looked good.
"I can't have you here," she whispered more to herself than to him, her gaze locked on the sofa.
"Too bad. I'm here and there's a raging storm outside. I'm lucky I made it as far as I did before the rental slid into the ditch." His cock hardened at the sight of her nipples poking against the cashmere. He pulled his gaze from her and focused on the cider.
"Don't badass DEA agents learn defensive driving skills?" Her foot tapped madly against the hard wood floor. She glanced over her shoulder, as if expecting someone else to appear at any minute.
"Are you alone?" he asked, needing to know.
"Of course I'm alone," she said, unable to hide the sadness that clouded her face.
He hugged the blanket tighter around his body and ignored the urge to erase the sorrow he'd seen in her eyes too many times to count. The staff whispered about how much she'd changed, how she'd retreated, and grown distant. He couldn't blame her, but he wished he'd known her before the tragedy. From all accounts, she had been one prone to easy laughter and spontaneous adventures.
He glanced at her now and could envision her that way. With her hair down, bare breasts soft beneath the sweater, and bare feet peeking out from the frayed hem of faded jeans, she looked approachable...almost.
"Why are you here anyway?" she asked.
He grinned at her hostile tone. "If you'd bothered answering your phone and actually listening to me, you'd know why."
"How'd you know where I was going? I didn't tell anyone."
"I have my ways." He curled and uncurled his fingers and toes to make sure they still functioned. He couldn't get warm, not that his hostess cared about his wellbeing.
"Your ways...your DEA and other law enforcement connections, right?" She leaned back onto the sofa, gaze locked on the fire. "Maybe I don't feel like working, did you think of that? Maybe I no longer give a damn about the show."
Yeah, he had thought about that every step of the way here. He'd needed to follow her, though, for reasons he couldn't explain. He liked her straightforward, genuine approach to life, even if it wasn't exactly politically correct. She had a gift, too, a true talent. After she'd tossed a coffee mug at their boss's head and told him to go to hell, he had thought it best to follow her. If not for the show's sake or his future's sake, then for her own.
He gripped the ends of the blanket tighter and shifted closer to the flames. He didn't want to over-analyze his desire to make sure she was okay.
"Are you hurt? Was the accident bad?" she finally asked.
"Thanks for asking." He looked up at her before glancing around the cabin. Simple. Cozy. Completely unlike the high-maintenance Sierra Daniels he had come to know. "I couldn't tell where the road ended and the ditch began."
"Spring storms are nasty." She stood abruptly, gathered a wet towel and an empty wine bottle from where they'd been stashed in a corner, and walked toward the kitchen again.
"Tell me why you're here, Alex. The real reason, not some crap about writing. Did Charlie send you to find me?" She loomed in the doorway of what he assumed was the laundry room because she'd disappeared there twice now with wet clothes and towels. Hands on her hips, she looked more than a little edgy. "Why are you here?"
"Because I'm here." He shrugged, the answer obvious to him.
She chewed her lower lip, again looking over her shoulder as if expecting someone to burst into the room. With a long sigh, she stalked back to the living room, sat on the sofa, and turned her gaze toward the fire.
"Am I fired? Is that why you're here? Do you want to gloat?" she asked after a long silence.
"I could gloat in Los Angeles from the warmth of my condo." He frowned at the sadness emanating from her. He'd come expecting a fight, maybe even hoping for one. "No, I came to write. We need to figure this out if we don't want to be replaced for next season."
"The show's been picked up," she said.
"Barely. They're talking about revamping the writers. You heard Sylvia hasn't been offered a contract renewal. If they're letting the star go—"
"I'm not an idiot, you don't need to spell it out for me." She shoved her hands through her hair and closed her eyes.
He couldn't stop looking at the long tresses that snaked through her fingertips. Normally, she kept it in a loose bun at the nape of her neck. A few times he'd seen it loose and flowing down her back, but only when she'd left the building and headed toward her car.
"I'm not your enemy," he whispered because he felt he needed to say it.
She dragged her gaze toward his. "You shouldn't be here."
"You don't trust me, I get it. You were head writer for years and then suddenly I appear out of nowhere. But we need to work together, Sierra. I'm not going anywhere in this storm so, like it or not, we're going to hash this out and create a script that will blow their minds."
He stared at her face, saw the conflict in her eyes and felt she wanted to confess something. His former DEA agent instincts told him that she was hiding something, and despite himself, he wanted to find out what.
"I'm not exactly a mountain man." Shivers rippled over his skin. He'd never felt so cold in his life.
"I can tell." She hugged her knees to her chest and grinned. "What kind of man are you? I haven't been able to figure that out. I know the facts...the badass former federal agent facts...but you've never struck me as overly...I don't know...masculine."
He gaped at her. Never in his life had anyone questioned his masculinity. Okay, so maybe at the moment he sat wrapped in a faux fur blanket whining about cold weather, but he'd once wielded machetes through jungles, for God's sake!
"I mean you're not Mr. Macho-Caveman-Grunt-For-Your-Supper Man." Her grin widened to a smile when he continued to stare. "You look so offended. I love it."
"You would." He pulled the blanket tighter around himself and focused on the wood snapping inches away from his thawing limbs. "I don't suppose there's any food here?"
"You show up uninvited, demand that we write together during our break from the madhouse, and now you expect me to make you dinner?"
"You suck at being a hostess. I can make it myself once I can walk again. I've never seen snow like that. Thank God the navigation worked in my phone. I could have died out there wandering around." He resumed drinking the apple cider and savored the warmth sliding down his throat.
"I suppose you could have...things like that happen. People die all the time." She walked to a closet at the back of the room where she pulled out an extra pillow and some more blankets. "There isn't another bedroom. You can sleep out here. When the storm breaks, you can leave."
He thought about arguing, but then looked at her face. She stared at the picture above the mantel, a look of confusion and loneliness replacing the sarcastic grin she'd worn minutes ago.
"I've slept in worse places than your sofa." He set the empty cup aside and watched her look around the room again before shoving her hair from her face.
In that one movement, he saw such sadness transform her face that he momentarily questioned his intrusion on her retreat. She'd obviously come here with a clear set of intentions; he only hoped that they hadn't involved hurting herself somehow. In that brief unguarded moment, she'd looked completely lost.
"Sierra...don't go. Stay here and talk to me for a while. We'll watch some television, critique all the poor scripts, have some fun mocking our competition."
She squatted in front of him with the quickness of a mountain lion and grabbed his face between her palms. "Are you really here? I'm not imagining this whole thing, am I? This isn't a dream, is it?"
The panic in her eyes made him think twice about his impulsive trip. Maybe she was some kind of lunatic who would chop him up with an axe in the middle of the night.
"Do you often dream about me appearing on your doorstep nearly frozen to death?" He squinted at her, wishing he could break through the walls that she'd constructed around herself. Even after a year of working six out of seven days together, he felt like they were strangers. He wanted inside those walls. "Are you okay, Sierra?"
She ground her lips against his. The force nearly knocking him backward. Her mouth was hot and desperate against his. He tasted the wine, felt the need. Despite the alarm bells screeching in his brain, he opened his mouth to hers and deepened the kiss, allowing her tongue access. He'd had a dream like this once or twice or a thousand times. All those late nights working together at the studio with their creativity feeding off of one another had stirred his desire into a frenzy.
Abruptly, she pulled away. Her breath tickled his skin. Her fingers splayed over his cheekbones. Her eyes mirrored his confusion. "You're real. I thought maybe I was hallucinating again."
"I'm so confused."
"You and me both." He tried to smile but his lips trembled from the need to resume their kiss.
"I think I'm losing my mind." She pressed her forehead against his for a minute, closed her eyes, and let out a long sigh.
The momentary show of weakness stirred his protective instinct. "Talk to me. We're partners. You can trust me." A tear slipped from beneath her closed eyes. He brushed it away with his thumb and grinned. "C'mon, Sierra. I risked my life to see you, doesn't that count for something? Trust me."
She shook her head and stood without saying a word.
He watched her exit, unable to stop himself from looking at the way her ass filled out her jeans and wondering why her sweater had been inside out. Their gaze connected when she turned at the threshold of the bedroom.
"You really shouldn't be here," she whispered again before closing the door.
He released the breath he'd been holding and looked up at the framed photograph on the mantle. She looked happy and in love with Shane. He knew more about the murder than he'd let on to her or anyone at the studio. He had met the assistant district attorney two weeks before his death. As a DEA agent, he had information on the cartel and had actively been pursuing leads in Central America linked directly to Shane's case.
He swallowed hard at the memory of the friendly and smart attorney. Ambitious had been the word he'd thought of first when they'd met. The man had had guts pursuing the case despite the death threats.
The irony of working with Sierra now wasn't lost on him. He hadn't actually known she'd been engaged to Shane until weeks after their partnership had formed, but he doubted she'd believe that. Trust wasn't exactly in her vocabulary.
He touched his fingertips to his lips and wondered what the kiss had been about. She'd mentioned hallucinations and muttered something about him being real. Her clothes were on inside out...maybe she danced closer to the edge than he'd realized.
I'm loving it! I'm thinking it's a lust with a good dose of resentment at first sight, what about you? What are you waiting for? Buy your copy today to see how this love triangle plays out.